Pregame: Lineup change was coming

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday that he had been considering a starting lineup change even before Jermaine O'Neal aggravated a left wrist injury, forcing Boston to shuffle Brandon Bass into a starting spot alongside the Big Four to start the second half of the season.

With O'Neal still out -- Rivers said he saw a hand specialist in Boston today, but had no further update on that consultation -- Bass remains in the starting lineup and could be cemented there moving forward if the first unit performs as it did early in Tuesday's win over the Cavaliers.

"I actually like this lineup," Rivers said. "I was thinking about doing it regardless, if you want me to be honest. We got off to a great start last night, we just couldn’t sustain it. That’s been us all year, really. So we have to figure out a way to sustain that play."

When Rivers confirmed that everyone but O'Neal is available again this evening, he quickly quipped, "How about that? Pretty good for us."

Inside the locker room, Ray Allen talked about eliminating the home run pass in regards to erasing the turnovers that have plagued Boston this season (and especially in the second quarter against Cleveland). Rivers later joked that Allen was merely repeating what the coach had been stressing for a month. Rivers said the other key was generating more hockey assists -- or passes that lead to the actual assist.

"We’re talking a lot about the hockey assist," Rivers said. "The problem is, I don’t think any of our guys understand hockey."

When a reporter pointed out that maybe the Celtics were using too much hockey and baseball terminology instead of basketball lingo, Rivers laughed and played along.

"That’s exactly right. Spring training and all, I’ve got them confused with that," Rivers said. "And you’re getting me confused with all that."