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Pregame: Smart back with starters

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics rookie point guard Marcus Smart is back with the starting unit for Friday's matinee against the Brooklyn Nets.

Smart drew his first career start Sunday in Miami, but the Celtics went with recently acquired Jameer Nelson on Tuesday in Orlando. Now Smart will get another chance with the first unit.

Smart said he doesn't take his placement in the starting lineup for granted and knows the team has experienced ball-handlers that coach Brad Stevens right lean on in the starter's role.

For his part, Stevens said he's simply trying to find the right mix for the starting lineup and the rotation as a whole.

"Just keep trying to figure it out," said Stevens. As for starting Smart on Friday, Stevens added: "I wanted to be able to match up defensively a little bit differently. And, one of our thoughts after our first game [with the players acquired from Dallas] was, I didn’t necessarily want a situation where we had all three of the newcomers in at once. And, obviously, that looked pretty good the other night [in Orlando] at the end of the game, so not as concerned about that any more."

Stevens praised the trio of new faces -- Nelson, Jae Crowder, and Brandan Wright -- for nearly willing Boston back from a 27-point, fourth-quarter deficit in Orlando, even if he called the rally a bit of "fools' gold."

"We’ve talked about this a lot -- I think it’s easier to play down 25 than up 25," said Stevens. "You don’t have anything to lose, the other team can start getting tight if you can start cutting into their lead. We’ve been on both sides of that fence. But I thought that, just looking at it for what it was, I thought our guys really played hard. I thought Jameer did a great job, Jae Crowder was excellent, I thought Brandan gave us a lot. It was good. These guys are still -- it’s only been a week since they got on that plane and got here. They are still spinning a little bit, but they played hard the other night."

A couple other notes:

• Rookie guard James Young, sidelined the past two weeks with a right shoulder subluxation, is healthy enough to return to game action, but is inactive for Friday's tilt.

• Guard Marcus Thornton is progressing from a left calf strain, but is still working his way back. Said Stevens: "He's not doing anything up and down the court yet, but progressing well and we hope to get him back sooner rather than later."