So now that we'll have our full compliment of pieces for the beginning of this back to back, can we view this game as a litmus for the potential of reshaping the lineup going forward? For a 7 game stretch in January, Joe Johnson was putting up an all-star like line putting up 23/4/4, with possibly his best game of the year coming against Philadelphia. Unfortunately, as I'm sure many would agree, it has been a series of low peaks and deep valleys. It has been brought up that his poor or inconsistent performance could be attributed to knee issues. So I know I had hope his form would round out after the all-star break. In 38 minutes against Utah he had a line of 27/2/6 on 10-16 shooting, 33 minutes @GSW he had a line of 15/3/0 on 5-16 shooting, 35 minutes @LAL he had a line of 10/4/8 on 4-9 shooting. Is the knee still bothering him or is it more of the Joe we've seen for the majority of the season?
Joe has recently shown a propensity to drive into the lane and when the defense collapses on him, make an ill-advised pass, which often turns into turnovers. Many on this board have argued that Joe and Pierce aren't at their best attempting to coexist for extended periods on the floor. They're both ball dominant types that often cancel the other out. So a common refrain has been to send one to the bench to anchor. Another, more recent, sentiment has been to let Livingston go to the bench in light of Deron's resurgence.
Can we look at our guys tonight to see what they CAN give us in order to make the proper adjustments to make a serious run at the playoffs? With the added scoring punch that we hope Thornton can bring, the added big man minutes defense and fouls we can get from Collins, I think this lineup could benefit from a shakeup. We've had issues all season with bigger, more physical teams. Why not a lineup of Deron/Joe/Alan/AK/KG and off the bench Shaun/Marcus/PP/Blatche-Mirza/Plumlee-Collins? Each rotation has at least 3-4 guys that can score and 1 defensive minded big. Both lineups can also space the floor. So, can tonight's look at our full compliment as constructed give us some real insight into a possible shakeup?