What is Boston's ideal crunch time lineup? That sounds like the type of question that needs categories. Let's do it.
Guys Who Don’t Dress
Guy Who Won’t Be Out There
Guys Who Could be Out There in Certain Situations
Tony Allen – I see the Allen for defense argument but think it is flawed for a number of reasons. He needs a lot of time to be effective, never seemed entirely comfortable with his knee, makes too many mistakes and currently lacks confidence.
Glen Davis – He could easily be in the previous category based upon the last month or so. But he has been effective against Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Eddie House – In some shooting scenarios.
Leon Powe – Foul Trouble for guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
Most Likely to be in the Mix
Ray Allen – If Allen plays like he did Tuesday it’s hard to make an argument for him to be on the floor. Now to be fair the Celtics definitely did not get him open looks and both Rondo and Cassell were more concerned with getting their own shots. Regardless if he is in a rhythm and hitting shots, I like Allen for the three-point threat alone. Although I’m not entirely sure where I stand on this one.
Sam Cassell - I’ll be honest Cassell drives me a little crazy at times. For example he was playing Tuesday when Kevin Garnett checked back into the game. KG had been hot and went to the post presumably to get the ball. Cassell stayed on the opposite side of the floor and eventually threw up an errant jumper. At the same time there is no denying that Cassell hit some big shots.
Kevin Garnett – He has to be on the floor and I like him a lot more at the 4.
Kendrick Perkins – Even though he can be inconsistent I like the way Perkins rebounds, defends and plays in the post opposite KG.
Paul Pierce – I’m a big Pierce fan. But he can’t depend on fall away jumpers and three point shots. He has to get to the rim or into the lane. Also realistically he’s not the best option to guard LeBron. True story.
James Posey – Tuesday night he hit a few buckets, showed off his defensive prowess and grabbed a key rebound that helped seal the deal. To be fair Posey’s value was inflated by Allen and Pierce’s struggles in game one.
Rajon Rondo – Rondo showed once again that he could get into the lane and finish. He is also a better defender and rebounder than Cassell. The latter is particularly important given Cleveland’s rebounding ability.
Some Possible Lineups
Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Perkins – The Starting lineup. Clever.
Cassell, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Perkins
Cassell, Pierce, Posey, Garnett, Perkins – Plenty of offensive firepower and rebounding.
Rondo, Pierce, Posey, Garnett, Perkins – I don’t hate it.
Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Posey, Garnett – This is not a big team. Although Rondo rebounds well for his position and I think Posey’s rebounding is underrated. Of course I’m not crazy about KG at the 5.
In the end it’s a tough decision and to some degree it depends on how everyone is playing up until crunch time. And as I type this I can’t help but think about everyone’s performance in game one. But you have to admit that Posey is making it harder and harder for Doc Rivers to keep him on the bench.