Resting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett before the NBA playoffs begin seems to be a must for Doc Rivers, and by finally clinching the 7th spot in the Eastern conference, he ensured he can give them minimal time on the court for the final two games of the season, while hoping it doesn’t throw them too much out of rhythm.
After losing to the Miami Heat, Jason Terry predicted that playing in Orlando against the Magic was going to be an easy one. It turned out to be one of the easiest games of the season, as the Boston Celtics beat them 120-88. The entire starting five ended up scoring in double figures, even Kevin Garnett (14 points) on only 19 minutes of basketball, while the usually offensively awkward Avery Bradley added the same amount.
As for Terry himself, he had to be part of the demolition, backing up his own words, but instead he didn’t even play. People keep talking about Pierce and Garnett as the old folks who need some rest heading into the postseason, but Jason Terry is 35, and needs every bit of rest as well. Courtney Lee got extra minutes thanks to Terry sitting down and not everyone needing to play their full quote, and led the team with 20 points.
The question now – do the Celtics believe they can do something in a best-of-7 series against, most likely, the New York Knicks? You’ll never hear anything that sounds like giving up from Pierce and Garnett, and certainly not from Rivers, but looking at the patched up squad the Celtics have heading into the most important stage of the season, it’s hard to see them as a team that can do any kind of damage. No point guard, hardly a center.
All the intelligence and defensive discipline in the world can’t make up for talent, a certain amount of it at least. While Rivers prides himself of having a smarter-than-others team, it will eventually fall down on Kevin Garnett playing minutes his body is struggling to keep up with; for Paul Pierce to be much more consistent with his scoring while playing the point-forward role, and for Jeff Green to act like a superstar. Even if you’re the world’s most optimistic Celtics fan, you’ll have to admit chances are looking quite slim.