NBA News: Celtics' Slow Start Leads to Lineup Changes in Boston

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent INovember 11, 2012

Doc Rivers wasted little time making changes to his starting lineup.
Doc Rivers wasted little time making changes to his starting lineup.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Doc Rivers' job is safe, but after a slow start, a few of the starting spots in the Boston Celtics' starting lineup are not. 

While the Celtics haven't looked nearly as bad as the Los Angeles Lakers, a 2-3 start, an opening night lost to the rival Miami Heat didn't sit well with Rivers. 

Following Friday night's 106-100 home loss against the Philadelphia 76ers, Doc had a new prescription for his team's ailing offense (via The Boston Globe). 

After giving rookie Jared Sullinger a chance to grasp the starting power forward spot, Rivers had seen enough. 

The rookie out of Ohio State was averaging just four points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a starter, leaving Rivers no choice but to put veteran Brandon Bass back at the No. 4 spot Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks

Bass—who like Sullinger is considered an undersized power forward—responded with eight points and seven boards in the Celtics' 96-92 victory to even the team's record at 3-3. 

Sullinger wasn't the only starter who found a new home off the bench Saturday as Doc pulled the plug on Courtney Lee in favor of veteran scorer Jason Terry

Lee was expected to be a dynamic offensive threat, but the usually efficient shooter flopped miserably in Boston's first five games. 

In replacing Lee with Terry, the Celtics got a big boost offensively as the wily 13-year veteran dropped 15 points, including two three-pointers in the win. Going forward, this lineup is probably the best the Celtics can roll out until Avery Bradley gets healthy. 

Lee could form a nice scoring duo with Jeff Green off the bench, but he's probably stretched out as a starter at this point.

Terry's ability to play point guard in a pinch and score would make him an ideal player off the bench, however, with Bradley still rehabbing from shoulder surgeries, the Celtics probably need him to simply provide points early on.

Once Bradley returns, Boston can throw out one of the better defending back courts in the game with Rajon Rondo and the defensive-minded Bradley. 

Until that happens, the Celtics need to try and put more offensive firepower on the floor, making Terry and Bass invaluable. 

Although some people aren't fans of Bass' shot selection, the big man actually improved a lot on both ends of the floor in his first season in Boston and was one of the more underrated players in Boston's playoff run this summer.

With a team that already struggles to score at times, it's best to let Bass knock down jumpers and bang on the glass and let Sullinger grow with the second unit.

Before the season it appeared Boston had acquired some enviable depth, and it appears Rivers will find out just how deep his team is just six games into the season.