Marc Spears reports that tonight's game will feature a heavy dose of backups and bench players, but don't expect that to continue:
Coach Doc Rivers said Allen, Pierce, and Garnett may not play much or at all tonight at New Jersey. Rivers also gave the team the day off in New York City yesterday. But with only three preseason games left after tonight, expect Boston's starting lineup to be on the floor a lot before the Oct. 28 season opener against the Cavaliers.
If you ask me, the timing is perfect, since New Jersey could play their regular rotation guys and it would be a pretty even matchup.
I have to admit, we have spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the guys at the end of the bench. On one hand I strongly believe that every player that makes the roster might very well make an impact (good or bad) on the team this year. Injuries do happen and Doc loves to use his bench liberally when he can. On the other hand, the fate of this team rests in the talents and heart of the top 10 players on the roster and more specifically the starting five.
The thing is, for conversation purposes, we can only talk so much about how great the big three are or how excited we are about Rondo and how much we love Perk's snarl before it all gets a little boring. To find fault with any of them (especially after the way they performed in the Finals) seems very nit-picky. Are there things each of them could work on? Sure. Would we trade our starting five with any other team in the league? Nope.
So what we are left with is a daily conversation about who the worst player on the roster is. In other words, who should get cut, traded, or prodded into retirement. All in all I don't mind that. We all are very conditioned to gripe and argue about what is missing on the roster to make a title run. Now that we have the brass ring, it is hard wipe the smile off our faces, but we still have that urge to gripe. So we ignore the hot fudge sundae and argue over the cherry on top.
So enjoy the game tonight. It is likely the last chance we'll get to see many of these players for an extended period of time. The small sample sizes we use to make our pronouncements ("he's a bust!" "he's a 2nd round steal!") will only get smaller from now on as Doc sets up his rotation.
In a couple of weeks, one of these guys will be off the roster and 3 of them will be inactive. And of course, we'll be watching the starters defend the team's 17th NBA Championship. Life is good.