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Celtics Sit Starters, Choose Rest Over Playoff Seeding

Apr 11, 2011, 7:35 PM EDT

celtics-benched

Any Celtics fans in the D.C. area who bought tickets to Monday’s game in hopes of seeing Boston prepare for the postseason with a thrashing of the home-town Wizards is going to be disappointed.  Boston may still very well beat Washington, because the Wizards, in the simplest of terms, just aren’t very good. But the Celtics will have to do it with a starting lineup of Delonte West, Von Wafer, Jeff Green, Glen Davis, and Jermaine O’Neal.

Doc Rivers has decided to opt for rest over playoff seeding, and as a result, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and likely Paul Pierce will not play Monday, and will not play in Wednesday’s final game of the regular season against the Knicks either, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN Boston).

As far as the Eastern Conference playoff picture is concerned, this means that the Celtics will likely finish the season where they are right now in the standings, with the No. 3 seed, and a first-round date with the New York Knicks. More importantly, it means that Boston will not have home court advantage over the Heat in a second-round or the Bulls in a conference finals matchup.

The plan for Wednesday is subject to change, according to Rivers, should the Heat unexpectedly lose to Atlanta on Monday.

“It’s a very difficult decision,” Rivers said. “Miami has a tough game tonight, but overall it’s right for the team.”

Boston could go full-speed these final two contests, and attempt to overtake the second-seeded Heat, who currently hold a one-game advantage in the standings. But really, there’s no need to do so. Miami is not likely to lose to the Hawks and/or the Raptors, and for a team that’s been playing just .500 basketball for the past few weeks, using this time to rest and refocus for what would be a very difficult run back to the Finals just makes more sense.

  1. zackd2 - Apr 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Shaq: “Finally taking my advice boys, I’ve been resting all season so I can play 5 minutes in the playoffs before I hobble off the court”

  2. philtration - Apr 11, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Where they resting or sleeping?

  3. andyhr17 - Apr 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    It just fascinates me that a team that is 55-25 (1 game back of the beloved Miami Heat) get talked about like they are having a forgettable season and preparing for a lottery pick in the draft.

    • zackd2 - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:09 PM

      Who said that? I thought the C’s goal was about #18, not regular season wins.

      • andyhr17 - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:20 PM

        Honestly, do you ever have anything to contribute?

      • zackd2 - Apr 11, 2011 at 10:52 PM

        What did your comment contribute? Nobody said C’s are a bad team, no one called them a lottery team, etc.

  4. jstrizzle - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Two thoughts here. I think of course resting an older veteran team makes sense. They will be fresh for the playoffs. However, is the decision have another agenda. It may seem like a hailmary plan but is Doc thinking he can not only rest his starters but give NY a good chance to nab that number 5 seed. Who would they rather see in the playoffs? A hot Knicks team or Atlanta? I think I would steer clear of the Knicks if at all possible. Instead of wasting energy to go for that number 2 seed why not save energy and hope you get a good matchup against Atlanta.

    • andyhr17 - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      I can’t see them resting their starters in an attempt to change who they play in the first round….but if teams happen to change spots don’t think they won’t be happy for that switch.

    • thomasmontague - Apr 11, 2011 at 11:56 PM

      You should look at the standings before you post a conspiracy theory. There is no scenario under which the Knicks could move past the Hawks.

      Since the Knicks and the Hawks spilt the season series and play in different divisions, the tiebreaker is the best Conference record. Even if the Hawks lose their last two games and the Knicks win their last two, the Hawks would have a one game edge over them in the East.

      Doc Rivers is not counting on the Heat losing to two vastly inferior teams in making his decision to rest his vets. He is simply playing the odds.

  5. trbowman - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    They’re playing the Wizards so no harm, no foul.

  6. wvan10 - Apr 11, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Doc is doing what he always does. Resting his vets along with giving them a built in cop out excuse so when and if they lose the 2 seed they can always say “we were resting instead of going for the 2 seed”. Just like in the Finals last year “our starting 5 is still undefeated”. Anything to save face for the fragile ego of his team as always.

  7. andyhr17 - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    Knicks are playing pretty good ball right now, but the Celtics match up good against them. It would be a surprise if the Heat and Celtics didn’t both handle their business in the first round and then get to play in the matchup that everyone would like to see.

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