- Bradford Doolittle
Sixteen games are in the books from the 2014 NBA playoffs -- two games apiece in eight series replete with drama and surprise -- and the chess match is on. One of the most fascinating aspects of the postseason is how the opposing coaches get to match wits over multiple games, a dynamic we don't see during the rush of the regular season. Player usage, motivational techniques, play calling -- all of these elements of leading a team are under the microscope this time of year.
We know teams tighten their rotations during the playoffs, with star players typically getting between three and six additional minutes per night. Beyond that, however, the matchups dictate who sees more or less time on the floor. A lineup you might not see much in the season may suddenly click against a particular opponent and become a relied-upon combination in the subsequent games. Then, in the very next round, that combination may well disappear.
With that in mind, let's look at one lineup combination for each team (members of the starting five can be included) that I'd like to see more of in the first round.
The suggested lineup is an observation about how Frank Vogel might want to manage his reserves. More than anything, as Vogel focuses his rotation around eight players, he may need to abandon the Evan Turner experiment. Turner has scored 12 points in 30 minutes in the series, but Indiana is minus-15 with him on the floor. This suggested lineup was a big part of Indiana's Game 2 win but saw just one minute of court time together during the regular season.
Bradford Doolittle looks at one lineup combination for each team beyond its starting five that would help going forward. The Pacers, for example, would benefit from a grouping of Ian Mahinmi, George Hill, C.J. Watson, Paul George and Luis Scola.