It didn’t take long for our first small match-up surprise. The Orlando Sentinel’s Tania Ganguli reports that Matt Barnes said today he will start the series on Ray Allen, leaving Orlando’s nominal shooting guard, Vince Carter, to defend Paul Pierce. Big thanks to Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post for the heads up.
I haven’t had much time to process this, but you can probably guess part of the reasoning. Having Barnes chase Ray Allen around saves Carter’s stamina, which he needs to effectively play his role as one of Orlando’s two primary ball-handlers on offense. Both Carter and Barnes are listed at 6’7”, so height isn’t an issue. Neither is as fast or quick as Ray, but perhaps Stan Van Gundy believes Barnes’ long arms can help him contest Ray’s shots even if he can’t quite keep up around every single Boston screen.
Carter’s a little bulkier, and perhaps a more natural match-up for Pierce defensively.
Have at it in the comments.