Before we are too far out from the C’s solid but rather underwhelming win over the Wizards last night, I pose to you a simple question. Out of Boston’s bench players last night, who would break the rotation for any other playoff team in the Eastern Conference? Before you go thinking there’s an obvious answer, let’s run through the options quickly.
Keyon Dooling (shooting 38 percent from field, 27 percent from downtown on the year), Marquis Daniels (inactive for majority of season), Ryan Hollins (unable to get playing time on non-playoff team) and perhaps the best candidate out of the bunch in Greg Stiemsma.
Dooling would be the other potential candidate, but after his hip injury suffered in January, the tough-nosed guard has been a shell of himself over the past two months before showing a signs of life over the past week.
Stiemsma is your best candidate and besides his defense, you would have a tough case making it for him. The fact of the matter is just showing you just how comically shallow the C’s bench has become and this team’s propensity to compete besides it. Despite that second team, Doc somehow got away with a relatively easy win last night playing Kevin Garnett just 23 minutes, providing KG with the much-needed rest with another game tonight looming in Charlotte. Rondo was at 33 minutes, Bass 33, and Pierce 31, while Avery Bradley posted a career-high 39 minutes on his career night.
For a squad that clearly needs the wins to a) ensure a spot in the playoffs and b) attempt to catch the swooning Sixers for the four seed, the harsh reality of working that bench into one of the league’s worst offenses looms. With Pietrus out indefinitely, and Ray Allen having MRI’s done on his ankle, it’s a rotation we may be seeing for a week or two. Doc got away with this against Washington with some stellar defense and Bradley’s outburst, but the problem remains in place.
Without Allen and Pietrus in the lineup, this team’s struggling offense (27th in offensive efficiency) drops even further. And with Rajon Rondo passing up shots right now, you’ve only got three guys you can rely on for points at the moment in Pierce, Garnett and Bass with any kind of regularity. You probably can’t afford to play those guys 35-40 plus minutes right now either given how much of a grind awaits this squad in April, but Doc may have no choice. it’s the balancing act.
With that looming schedule next month, chalkful of playoff opponents and back-to-back’s the importance of this week becomes clear and the balancing act that Doc has to manage. Find a way to score enough points and win these games, without pushing your healthy veterans to the edge. With Charlotte, Utah, and Minnesota awaiting, this could be a 4-0 week……but it just as easily go 1-3.
Right now with the bodies Boston has available they can’t rebound or score efficiently. Now the issue becomes….can they still do enough to find a way to win with the patchwork rotation they have in place?