In an effort to give me an aneurysm, Doc Rivers decided to shuffle his starting lineup tonight to include the JET and Jason Collins. There was some speculation that Collins was garnering the start to try and slow down Anderson Varejao, but Varejao was held out of tonight’s game at the last minute so I proceeded to have a full-blown conniption at that point. But the Celtics beat a now 5-22 team missing their second best player (an all-star caliber big man) so it’s time to get excited! Jason Collins is the answer! Let’s get to the bullet points:
- So in all seriousness, why Jason Collins? Well Collins is a good screen setter, capable defender, and a competent rebounder (which on this team makes him a spectacular rebounder). He also allows KG to log some minutes at the four, a SOMETHING no other big provides. However, if you’re starting Jason Collins you can forget about him contributing on the offensive end, hence Terry getting the start as well to balance out the lineup. Now the Celtics won this game and that’s all well and good, but let’s keep in mind that the Celtics played a bad team tonight and shot 60% (and they still almost blew it). It’s possible that Collins could be a better contributor than Wilcox (who did not play a single minute tonight) on a team that already has a lot of offensive options, especially given that he appears to have a better grasp of defensive rotations. For now I’m going to keep calm and wait for a bigger sample size. And I still don’t like him in the starting lineup. Collins finished with one point, two rebounds (both in the first quarter), a steal, a block, and six fouls in 23 minutes for those of you who like stats.
- Paul Pierce was absolutely on fire tonight. He went 13-16 from the field for 40 points including six 3′s (seven attempted). If you’re looking for a reason the Celtics won tonight I’m going to give credit to the Captain. Or maybe Alonzo Gee’s defense. But probably not Jason Collins.
- The Celtics shot 60% and held the Cavs to 41% shooting tonight. If the Celtics improved D is because of Collins it’s going to be a boon for the offense as well. Because of all the young(er) legs the Celtics added this offseason they can turn stops into points much easier with a few outlet passes and some good decisions on the break. The Celtics also shot 27 FT’s, which is what happens when you attack the basket. Or when Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller are guarding the opponent’s basket. Again, it’s so hard to be sure.
- The C’s still didn’t play four quarters as they almost collapsed midway through the second half allowing the Cavs to trim a 19 points lead to two.
When you shuffle multiple rotation pieces like the Celtics did tonight it’s hard to be sure what the most important take away is, even harder when you’re facing a team like the Cavs without one of their best players. And the Celtics super-lazy second half collapse certainly doesn’t help me evaluate anything either. I don’t think Jason Collins is the answer (and I really don’t like him starting), but he is an answer. Even if the Jason Collins experiment continues to yield results he’s probably not a long-term solution, but his ascent might confirm that the Celtics need to make a trade for a big-man that can rebound, hustle, and play some D. The Celtics have a day off before facing the Bucks on Friday, and the Jason Collins experiment could continue against more challenging competition.
Follow Jordan on Twitter: @OffensiveG