BOSTON -- Looking to counter the Brooklyn Nets' smaller lineup, the Boston Celtics will shuffle Brandon Bass back onto the starting unit Sunday looking to add some versatility at the power forward position.
Jared Sullinger will start at center (matching him up with old friend Kevin Garnett), while Bass will often draw Paul Pierce with the Nets playing him at the power forward spot in recent games. The Nets have won nine of their last 10 games while surging back into the playoff fray in the Eastern Conference.
Kris Humphries will come off the bench for Boston.
"Even with our normal lineup, we’d still be small, relatively," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "We’re going to move Brandon [to the 4] and start Sully at the 5, which we’ve done some early in the year. The biggest thing that I see, [the Nets] just feast on mismatches. And a lot of these guys, when you look at the course of their career, that’s what they’ve done. Deron Williams has always done that, Pierce has done that, Joe Johnson has done that. They’ve really done a good job with that stuff."
The focus of the night, of course, is on Pierce and Garnett's return to Boston. Is Stevens worried about it being a distraction for his team?
"No, guys will be excited to play in games like this when there’s a lot of attention on the game itself," said Stevens. "There's a lot of attention, and rightfully so, on their players, specifically Paul and Kevin and they’ve earned all that. I don’t see it being a negative in any way. I think the tough part about today for us is Brooklyn is playing exceptionally well and they’ve kind of found their groove."