BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers promised changes for his struggling squad and he made two moves, shifting Jason Terry back to the starting lineup in place of Courtney Lee, and inserting Jason Collins at the center position for Wednesday's visit from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Terry, who has started 16 of Boston's 24 games this season, spent the past three games as a reserve. But after he was limited to two shots in Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls, Rivers decided to move him back with the starting group.
"Until Avery [Bradley] comes back, for JET, he just doesn’t get involved when [Rajon] Rondo is not on the floor," said Rivers. "[Terry] had two shots last night. It has nothing to do with anybody else, it’s more trying to keep JET involved and he needs to be out on the floor with a point guard that can deliver the ball to him."
Inside the Celtics' locker room, Bradley suggested he's hoping to be back on the floor for a Jan. 2 visit from the Memphis Grizzlies. He still plans to travel west with the team to wrap up the calendar year, but said Boston's training staff is likely to keep him out of game action until early January.
Rivers sounded content to leave Terry with the starters until Bradley is healthy, despite two solid bench efforts from the former Sixth Man of the Year to start the team's unsuccessful road trip.
Rivers said he was leaning toward starting Jason Collins at center in order to limit the wear-and-tear on Kevin Garnett. That means Brandon Bass will shift to a reserve role. The Celtics caught a monster break when Cleveland spark plug Anderson Varejao was scratched because of a right knee injury.
"I’m thinking about [Collins], just because of the size," said Rivers. "I’ve been talking about it a lot, we just haven't done it: I’ve been trying to find ways of getting Kevin off the 5 spot all game. And right now, even when we bring the other guys in, the same guys guard him and he’s stuck in the same position. The only way you can force the action is with [Collins]."
The negatives to starting Collins?
"The cons are that he’s not as good offensively," said Rivers. "But I think he can make it up, defensively. He’s our second-best pick-setter as well, and if you're going to play Jason [Terry] in the starting lineup, you need another pick-setter."
A few more pregame notes:
* The Celtics encountered travel woes in Chicago after Tuesday's game, forcing the team to travel home Wednesday afternoon instead. The team didn't arrive back in the area until 2 p.m. and skipped an on-court walk-through (with many players walking into the building a mere 90 minutes before tipoff).
"I don’t know if it’ll have any effect, it’s just one day, it’s not like we did it five days in a row," said Rivers. "It’s just one day of inconvenience. I can’t imagine it being a problem."
* Before Varejao was ruled out, Rivers gushed about Cleveland's Energizer Bunny. "He’s the most active [rebounder]," said Rivers. "I’m sure there’s somebody that has a better gift at it, but he’s just an amazing player to watch. Not only the best rebounder and maybe the best passing big, [but] he is skilled. His energy is part of his skill and I don’t think people realize how good he is."
* Bradley on being anointed a possible "savior" for Boston and its woeful early-season defense: "No, I wouldn't say that. Nobody's a savior for a team. We're a team. All I can do is go out there and do my role and guard the other players as hard as I can."