Ask anyone what the Celtics biggest need and the answer will be,... a big. Jason Collins is big, and he has been sitting there at the end of the bench all season long. So you could say that when Doc decided to switch things up, this was his big chance and for the most part, ...he came up big. (I'll stop now)
"Jason Collins, for getting one point and two rebounds, had an amazing impact on the game for us," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. His ability to defend the post and draw charges not only provided a much-needed defensive presence, but it also allowed Kevin Garnett to go back to his natural power forward position which paid dividends for the Celtics at both ends of the floor. Rivers said he had been thinking about inserting Collins into the lineup for quite some time, but never got around to doing it. "I was actually trying to wait for Avery (Bradley), to be honest," Rivers said. "But we just went ahead and did it."
"I’ve been talking about it a lot, we just haven’t done it," Rivers said. "We have to try to find ways of getting Kevin off the [center] spot all game. Right now, even when [opposing teams] put other guys in, the same guys guard him at the same position. The only way you could force the action is to go with Jason. "The con is that [Collins] is not as good offensively, but he can make it up defensively. He’s our second-best pick setter."
Of course adding Collins to the starting lineup and adding his minutes into the rotation comes at a cost for someone else. Chris Wilcox was the odd man out last night, but he's keeping a good attitude about it and focusing on the results.
"We all bring different things to the table," Wilcox said of the Celtics bigs. "Doc said he's changing things up, he wants to see some different things, so that's what it was. … I'm a more running-the-floor-type player. Sully and B. Bass are more like pop players. It's different views out there when I'm on the court and when they're on the court, but at the same time, we all bring something different to the team. Tonight we might need this and tomorrow we might need something else. We just take it one day at a time. We've just got to feed off this win we got tonight."
A few people brought up the comparison between Jason Collins and Kendrick Perkins and I can see that. He's a defender and pick setter and doesn't require the ball on offense to make an impact on the game. Of course you'd like to see more rebounds from a big man, but you take what you can get.
We needed a shot in the arm on defense and Collins might be just the thing. It is interesting that Doc wanted to put Jason in when Avery Bradley returned. Perhaps he was hoping for a double whammy of defense to really drive the point home and get things going that way. I think this team, behind Rondo's passing, can more than manage their end on offense. Adding Collins to the lineup to provide a defensive spark seems like a good idea. So far so good.