Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has been resting up his starters in preparation for their playoff run. Since the 2009-2010 season, Rivers has employed the strategy of health over late season wins.
The Boston Celtics have rested center Kevin Garnett 10 of the past 12 games for precautionary reasons as he heals from his left ankle inflammation. Paul Pierce has been given nights off recently as well to heal his ankle woes. The Celtics believe Garnett and Pierce are now full healthy and ready to go to war in the playoffs for their first round matchup, likely against the New York Knicks.
Tonight, Doc Rivers opted to rest Jason Terry versus the Orlando Magic. This was a very smart move for two reasons. First off, the 35-year-old shooting guard had played in every single game this season for the Celtics and needed a night off. More importantly, Terry disrespected the Orlando Magic, giving them some serious bulletin board material.
“I don’t want to give them any fuel but, [Orlando Magic are] terrible,” Jason Terry said after losing Friday night’s contest to the Miami Heat.
The Orlando Magic own the second worst record in the NBA and are having a woeful season after trading away disgruntled All-Star center Dwight Howard in the off-season. But there was no reason for Jason Terry to disrespect the upcoming opponent, no matter how horrific the Magic may be.
Doc Rivers made a great choice to give Terry the night off. There is no telling if any of the Magic players would give Terry a hard hit if he drove to the basket in response to his unprovoked comments. The last thing the injury-plagued Celtics needed was another injury.
Garnett and Pierce returned to the lineup on Saturday night as the Celtics routed the Magic, 120-88, as Boston clinched the #7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with the win. Garnett knocked down seven of his eight shots attempts, scoring 14 points and corralling nine rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. Pierce had a decent all-around night, posting 12 points, dishing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. The rest of the starters played well as Jeff Green scored 17 points, while guard Avery Bradley and forward Brandon Bass had 14 points apiece.
The Celtics’ bench was especially effective in the win. Courtney Lee scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Jordan Crawford also connected on seven of his 10 shot attempts, scoring 16 points. With the Celtics bench playing this well, it was the perfect night for the Celtics’ sixth man, Jason Terry, to sit the contest out and get himself prepared for the playoffs next week.