Get stops, get minutes.
Putting Jason Collins in the starting lineup was an unexpected move, but it was important even if it was only a signal to the other players on the team to step up their defensive intensity.
I like the adjustments that Doc made last night. I like [Jason] Collins in the starting lineup, protect KG a little bit. They're both very smart, savvy, defensive players, and we should get a little more punch off the bench that way."
The praise that the coach and GM give Collins is also a not-so-veiled swipe at some other players on the team. Wilcox got a DNP-CD that night. Jeff Green saw his minutes reduced to 14. And other players have to sit up and take notice as well.
Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger, while enjoying longer stretches of productive play for most of the year, have also missed defensive rotations and struggled offensively at times. While their time on the court was largely spared in Wednesday’s lineup shakeup, the curious move of Collins into the starting lineup after not seeing the court in 17 of the team’s first 22 games was a Rivers warning shot that – outside of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Garnett and Terry – no one’s time on the floor is safe if the team continues its uneven play.
As it should be. This team plays defense, that's who they are and how they should be attacking each game. They've gotten away from that this year and the coach can't stand by and let that happen.
Honestly, I'd rather lose a game 76 - 75 at this point than see another 105-110 game because I would at least know that the defense is picking up. Play defense or don't play.