Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers this morning wouldn’t reveal his starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls, but hinted his rotations might contain more bigs than in their last few games against smaller opponents.
The Bulls have four players 6-foot-9 or taller that get regular minutes.
"Chicago is bigger, so it’s harder to do," Rivers said at the team's morning shootaround when asked about keeping a smaller lineup on the floor. Later he added, “We’re still looking for ourselves. We’re going to keep moving them around, and you’ll keep asking the [lineup] questions."
Rivers did say he thought the team took steps in the right direction in the latter part of Saturday night’s win in Milwaukee. The Celtics (3-3) outscored the Bucks 57-50 in the second half and did not turn the ball over in the fourth quarter.
“I just like the fact that I thought, in the Milwaukee game in the second half we played more like the team we can be,” Rivers said. “Whether they understand that or not, we’ll find that out. I just thought that’s the closest I’ve seen us as a team this year.
“No turnovers, the ball moved, the defense was good. There’s still some glaring areas on film we have to improve on, but you can see how close it is ... it‘s getting closer, no doubt about that -- as far as them understanding. And then the second step is figuring out the right group of guys.”
Rivers also talked about the evolution of Paul Pierce’s role in the offense, noting the team has made a concerted effort to create space for its aging scorer. The Celtics similarly tried free Ray Allen from defenders when he was in Boston.
“I don’t think Paul is as athletic as he used to be, where before it was great having the luxury of knowing at any time you can just swing it to Paul, he’ll beat his guy and score,” Rivers said. “Now guys are doing a better job staying with him so we feel like we have to get a body off of him.
“We felt that last year, but Paul didn’t feel that. Now, Paul feels that. So that’s good. And he’s really good at pin-downs and coming off of him. It’s still an adjustment for him and he has to get used to it.”
With Derrick Rose out and Kirk Heinrich doubtful, the Bulls will likely start old friend Nate Robinson at point guard for tonight’s game. Rivers says he has seen some maturity in Robinson’s game over the last season-plus.
"I just think he’s matured," said Rivers. "I’ve told Nate this, it’s never been his basketball. Nate knows how to play. I think he’s grown up, he’s more of a professional."
Information from ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell was used in this report.