BOSTON -- One game after experimenting with Jason Terry in the starting lineup, the Boston Celtics will revert to their end-of-the-regular-season starting unit for Game 4 with Brandon Bass joining Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, and Kevin Garnett.
"I just like Brandon on [Carmelo Anthony] more," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Like I said yesterday, with the smaller lineup, the numbers actually say it’s better, but I like our defense better the other way."
The Celtics are staring at an 0-3 deficit to the New York Knicks in an Eastern Conference first-round series and know that no team in NBA history has ever rallied from that hole. Rivers knows it's a mental challenge for his team.
"Obviously, when one team is in an elimination situation, and the other team is not, it’s mental really for both," said Rivers. "I’m not going to concern myself with their mental, but with ours, it’s all mental, it always is."
Rivers said he expected Smith to be suspended, so the news of his one-game ban didn't surprise him at all. How are the Knicks different without him?
"Listen, he’s one of their other guys that can create shots and, especially in the playoffs, you need a guy," said Rivers. "You think about what we’ve done good in this series, the Knicks are being held 13 points under their normal [scoring] average. And JR Smith has played well, because in the playoffs you take teams out of their stuff, and it comes down to guys creating shots for themselves and others. Well, Melo does that, [Raymond] Felton has done that, and JR Smith does that. Now they don’t have one of those guys."