Don't adjust your TV set, you are seeing a return to smallball.
Brandon Bass, Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins — essentially their center/power forward rotation beyond Kevin Garnett — all remained on the bench in the fourth quarter. Instead, coach Doc Rivers played Paul Pierce [stats] at power forward next to Garnett and made all of his substitutions on the wings, with Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling each making brief appearances to give Rajon Rondo [stats] and Avery Bradley breathers. Otherwise, the three-guard lineup of Ray Allen, Rondo and Bradley was Rivers’ counter to the Sixers’ remarkable speed and athleticism. Look for more of the same.
That lineup includes what Frank Dell'Apa calls a "decoy" in the person of Ray Allen, who stretched the defense despite not making a field goal in the 4th quarter. Doc sounds either concerned or impressed with Ray's ability to fight through pain.
"I mean, I thought 10 different times he was hurt again,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. "He hit the floor four or five times. Ray is just tough. I mean, I don’t think we realize how - his foot’s bothering him and he’s playing terrific. The stretch when he came in again with the second unit, that was a big stretch for us. It gave us some hope.’’
That's all well and good, but as I've mentioned before, I can't wait to see Ray get on one of his classic hot streaks.