BOSTON — Brad Stevens won't hesitate to make adjustments fot the Boston Celtics, and if he notices a weak spot, he'll go at it repeatedly until the Wizards find a way to neutralize it. Scott Brooks has his work cut out for him in the East semifinals.
The Celtics started Gerald Green, who'd seized a forward role in their previous series with the Chicago Bulls after Amir Johnson proved to be a major liability. Sunday, in Boston's 123-111 victory at TD Garden, Green started again but coming out of halftime, it was Marcus Smart in a three-guard lineup.
Green only played seven minutes. Smart logged 31 as they came back from 17 points down. The reason was because Markieff Morris went down with a left ankle sprain and Kelly Oubre took over his spot.
"Wait and see as the series goes on," Stevens said about the possibility of starting Smart on Tuesday in Game 2. "Morris' availability may affect some of our decisions with regard to how we rotate our bench."
The chess match went on in other areas. Recognizing that the Wizards were trying to cover 7-foot Kelly Olynyk with Otto Porter, they went inside to him where he shot 4-for-5 in the first quarter. Then the 3s started to drop from all over, as the Celtics erased most of a 17-point deficit only to trail 64-59 at halftime.
"Kelly came in and he was huge for us," said Al Horford, who had 21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. "I feel like he made some big plays and just the way he played in the first half really helped us when we were hurting to score the ball."
Stevens tried to use Johnson, but he yanked him after just nine minutes and went away from him. Olynyk had 12 points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes. Terry Rozier played 15 minutes off the bench and was a spark with four points and eight rebounds until Brooks started going more to Bojan Bogdanovic, as he exploited that matchup. Bogdanovic scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards went down 95-80 entering the fourth quarter, but all of Bogdanovic's baskets were in a 92-second span to cut the deificit to 103-99.
Then Stevens went to his bench for Jaylen Brown for Rozier. Brown sank two shots, including a three, to get the Celtics the separation they needed to finish comfortably.
"Marcus starting (the third) didn't make any change for us," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "They were just the more aggressive team hitting a lot of threes and getting to the basket. We just couldn't get shots off.
"We lose a lot of aggression and a guy that can space the floor for us (with Morris), a guy that can take the pressure off me and Brad (Beal) at times."
If Morris can't play Tuesday, who does Brooks go to? Does he rely on Oubre in more of a small-ball lineup or does he play a face-up big such as Jason Smith in that spot?
Smith, who is rebounding from a hyperextended knee, only played 10 minutes n Game 1 and made 2 of 3 shots for five points but wasn't much of a factor otherwise.
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