Lee is out of the rotation, but “will have a say in this series”

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This morning, Jeff defended Lee’s spotty play of late and made a passion play to put him back in the lineup, but Doc confirmed today that he’s fallen out of the rotation:

“He’s handled it great as far as I know,” said Rivers. “You never know. Guys move in front of him. Jordan is another guy that can give us what I just talked about offensively. For us our defense has been pretty good. The one thing Jordan does better is he can make a spot-up shot. But right now we’re going the other way.”

The fine folks over at RedsArmy broke down all the numbers between him and Jordan Crawford, but ultimately, it really comes down to strengths. It’s no secret that the Celtics sorely miss Rajon Rondo in a series like this and in the playoffs. When teams battle it out in a seven-game war, they start taking things away from each other and run very specific sets to stymie the opposing team. It’s special players like Rondo that always have an advantage over their opponent that ultimately shifts the power of balance. In addition to his scoring ability, Doc loves JC’s passing and with the team hurting in the ball-handling department, Crawford’s promotion makes sense.

Crawford is hardly a replacement for Rondo, but he does pose more of a scoring threat to the Knicks off-the-dribble. Lee is a much better complementary player–especially if you consider his defense–but Crawford is a play maker. He has the reputation as a wild card and Doc’s hoping that he comes up aces rather than rely on Lee’s more reliable but less explosive game.

My guess is that where Lee will be able to contribute is on the defensive end. If the Celtics can build leads at home in Games 3 and 4, look for Doc to put Lee on Smith when the second unit hits the parquet and maybe even use him against Carmelo in a pinch. Even though Lee is undersized, he’s great at smothering scorers who can put the ball on the floor and always contests shots in the post.

Some other quick notes from media availability at today’s practice: 1) Garnett is a go, but Doc will try and limit him today because of his hip pointer and 2) Avery Bradley was absent at the beginning and arrived at Waltham late.

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