Sounds like Markieff Morris is going to give it a go on on Tuesday night, but if he doesn’t, should Brad Stevens consider a lineup change? Does he stick with Gerald Green after getting in a 16-0 hole in Game 1, or does he go back to his starting lineup with Amir Johnson or throw in Jaylen Brown?
Keith Smith: Stick with Green and see if you can make Morris defend and move his feet in space on defense. If Green isn’t working, they'll go smaller with Smart or Brown. Not sure we'll see Johnson and Horford together again in this series. The key is going to be to make Morris move and prove he's ready to go. Whether that is with Green, Brown, Smart or someone else, that has to be part of the mindset.
Sean Penney: I don't see using Green as a starter working out as well against Washington as it did against the Bulls. If Morris plays, Boston will need more size up front. If Morris is out or limited then the Wizards may be forced to go small, at which point the Celtics shouldn't hesitant to get Marcus Smart in the game in place of having a second big next to Horford.
Bill Sy: The Wizards run a ton of pick-and-rolls and screens, so whoever is out there has to be able to recover quickly. If it’s not Green, I like Marcus moving into the starting lineup to cover Wall and hide Thomas on presumably Kelly Oubre, who started the second half for Washington.
Alex Kungu: I think it has to be Jaylen Brown. Brown’s best minutes consistently come with the starters, and he’s best equipped to give the Celtics size, defense, and versatility on the wing. Also, because Morris will most likely be starting, the Celtics need to maintain a small lineup and making him move as much as possible. Boston could do that by constantly putting him through picks, forcing him into pick-and-rolls against Isaiah Thomas, and overall making his life hell on his ankle.
Playing Amir Johnson doesn’t do that, the Gerald Green experience was fun but done, and Marcus Smart is too valuable to the second unit—one of Boston’s biggest advantages. Let Jaylen Brown run around with the core four where he can have shots be created for him, run the floor, and hopefully ignite the crowd with some big dunks.
Jeff Clark: I think that the Gerald Green starting era has ended, and I think Brad Stevens knew it five minutes into that game 1. I just like the idea of starting Smart and Bradley together to slow down the attack of Wall and Beal. The Celtics have found ways to hide Isaiah by pairing him up with Otto Porter and sending help when he tries to post him up. If Porter is smart, he'll look for the open man, but you are at least pushing them to a 3rd or 4th option in their offense. Another alternative would be to just start Jaylen Brown instead of Gerald Green. He gives you more defense, and Gerald's instant offense isn't as urgent against the Wizards defense.
Jared Weiss: Considering Morris’ absence would mean either Bogdanovich or Oubre starting, Stevens needs to completely unwrap the packaging on Jaylen Brown. We discussed in the series preview roundtable that Stevens would stick with Green for one more game and adjust accordingly if it failed. It failed. So considering the strong minutes Brown provided and his defensive versatility, it makes more sense to give him a run at the same scenario Green was placed in.
Jaylen can account for either Oubre, Bogdanovich or Porter defensively and is still a presence on the glass and transition. It’s not as good a solution as optimal Gerald Green, but it took Stevens two minutes to pull the plug on that optimism. The closing lineup with Brown in Game 1 had a +62.4 net rating per NBA Stats, meaningless considering the sample size, but paramount when considering how absurd that sounds out of context. Keep Smart with the second unit so the offense stays afloat, and don’t go too small with Rozier starting. They come out against the Wizards’ already crumbling second unit with more bursting energy than a radioactive isotope and that is key to Boston making up for any big runs from Wall and Beal. Unless Jonas Jerebko took coordination pills after Game 1, it’s time to start Jaylen.