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Brad Stevens loosening up his substitutions - and it's paying off


Did we ever expect to see a lineup of Carsen Edwards, Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams and Rob Williams on the floor with Jayson Tatum versus the Heat towards the end of the third quarter (and the start of the fourth period) with the score tied at 71-71?  How about rookie Payton Pritchard out there in crunch time  with less than a second to go in the game, getting perfect position for a put-back to can the game winner? Both happened to seal the win for Boston with a final score of 107-105.

I have been one-of-many critics of Brad Stevens' all-too-rigid substitution patterns, but early in this season he has loosened up.  Five Celtics subs logged a combined 66 minutes in the victory, putting up 28 points and taking down 20 boards. 

Grant Williams was on the floor for the most minutes for the quintet (28), and even little-used Edwards picked up 10 minutes, hitting 2-of-4 from the field. Rob Williams had a solid outing, coming away with eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, along with four rebounds, one steal and one block. Semi had five points and four rebounds in 13 minutes, but it was Pritchard who was the star of the young crew.

Payton logged 20 minutes, and Stevens chose to go with him in crunch time. Thank Heaven, because no-Pritchard-in-crunch-time would have meant no-win. The rookie that never stops moving got himself in perfect position to tap in the Marcus Smart miss to seal the victory. Payton came away with six points, six rebounds and four assists, but it was the two points and one board in the final second of the game that stood out.

Brad is experimenting early in the 2020-21 season, and it should pay dividends later in the regular season and playoffs. The younger guys are getting a run. It certainly worked well last night against a tough Eastern Conference rival. 



 


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