Due to injuries and deadline deals, the following players will see significant court time tonight: Avery Bradley, Sasha Pavlovic, Jeff Green, Troy Murphy, Nenad Krstic, and Chris Johnson. Bradley is the only one that has been here over a week and even he has seen limited gametime (and missed summer leauge, much of training camp, and spent some time in Maine during the year). Rounding out the bench is relative long-timer Von Wafer. That's it.
That's a whole second unit still wet behind the ears in terms of this system. So Doc has rightly taken this opportunity between games to give them the reps they need in practice to get things down.
"They were good," Rivers said of Murphy's lungs after practice. "He's getting better. He told me he was dying [Wednesday]. That's probably to be expected. He didn't feel bad today, but he'll probably feel it the next couple of days. [The second unit's] going to [do extra work Thursday], then we're bringing this group in [Friday] by themselves just to work -- we'll bring them in early before the game to work again and we can't worry about them right now being tired in the game, which they will be. That's not a problem for us, we just have to get them reps."
"It’s not nice that they don’t know what we’re doing, but it’s still nice that they’re out there," Rivers said. "Maybe this is good for them in a sick way that they have to be force-fed. We have to throw them in there regardless and we just have to figure it out."
The Big 4 are going to have to play a little bit of the role of on-court teachers as well. Don't be surprised if you see Rondo pointing and making his "what are you doing?" face and Garnett barking out commands and sometimes physically moving someone to the right place. So you know, pretty much business as usual.
Hopefully the injured players will start to trickle back into the lineup (West will miss the weekend, Shaq is anyone's guess, Jermaine is hoping to be back before the playoffs - we'll see). But for now, we've got healthy, fresh bodies that are willing and eager to learn the system. Might as well see what we've got with them.
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that guard Nate Robinson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday. For those scoring at home, that means that all five Celtics players that were traded away at the deadline are currently injured in some form or another.
So, by my count, if Danny Ainge didn't make any moves last week, we'd be able to dress 6 players for tonight's game.