This is arguably one of the most intriguing Boston Celtics season openers in recent memory as the team takes on the Miami Heat Tuesday night in South Beach. One area the Celtics focused to improve on this off season was their bench play. Quite frankly, it stunk last season. They got no consistent scoring from their bench and whenever Kevin Garnett went to the pine in the post season, the team’s overall play declined. The bench will be one of the most intriguing story-lines to look out for on Tuesday.
The Celtics appear to having a starting lineup set which consists of Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, and Garnett. Assuming head coach Doc Rivers does not make any surprise changes between now and opening night, that would leave a bench rotation of Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbosa, and perhaps Darko Milicic, if healthy. Terry figures to get the first call, but it will be very interesting to see how many minutes Barbosa gets. Barbosa has barely been with the team two weeks and Rivers has been known to run some complicated plays, but I still expect him to get some decent run on Tuesday. He can back up Rondo and also play together with Terry in that second unit. Green figures to get a ton of minutes and the team will be counting on him to help Pierce out defensively with Lebron James. Pierce can’t cover him the whole game and Green offers nice size and length to match up with James in spurts. Green will also provide another scoring option on the floor that the team can count on. I think we will see a lot of Green and Bass on the floor at the same time to combat against the Heat’s small ball line-up. Sullinger will get some decent minutes too and figures to play a prominent role on the glass, as the Heat are not a strong rebounding team.
It will be very interesting to see how the bench looks Tuesday night and it will be one of the biggest story-lines to be looking for if you are a Celtics fan.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18