Preseason is a great time to experiment on different lineups. With an unbalanced and rather flat roster (meaning little separation in depth) it was assumed that Coach Brad Stevens would get a little creative with his rotations in order to maximize what he's got on the court.
Put this on the board as one of the more intriguing lineup decisions. Stevens put Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace (both natural 3's) on the court at the same time.
Rarely used together before, the combo spurred an 11-2 run that brought the Celtics right back into the game. Used again to start the second half (Green replaced Courtney Lee in the lineup after halftime), the unit showcased its potential once more, although it did not rip off another high-powered run.
"I’ll have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch – both in the first half and in the second half (with Green and Wallace manning the perimeter)," said Stevens. "We played them together some in the first half where we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’ll probably see that again."
Purely from a talent standpoint it makes a lot of sense. Wallace has been one of our top players this preseason. For his part, Jeff Green is too talented, too important, and frankly too expensive to fail. So it wouldn't make sense to "bench" him or reduce his minutes. If anything, putting him on the court with the aggressive and attacking Wallace perhaps gives Green some good up-close examples of how to approach the game.
In years past, Doc played with rotations where Green and Paul Pierce shared the floor together. However, Doc would put Green at the 4 in a smallball lineup while Stevens seems to be pushing Green to play more 2 in a quasi-big lineup (about as big as you can get with just one true center on the team). That means that Green has had to learn a new position - and that might explain why you haven't seen this lineup before now.
The curious side effect of this would be a reduction in minutes for our long line of shooting guards. Granted, some of them are filling in at point guard with Rondo out. But there already are guys that aren't getting a lot of run from that position and it will be telling to see who gets completely dropped from the rotation when the games start to count.
Stevens will go back and look at the tape, run the numbers, and figure out the best ways to utilize Green and Wallace. As he said, the chances are pretty good that we'll see that kind of lineup again. Consider me at least intrigued.