Celtics fans living in Florida may want to trade in their tickets for Friday’s Heat game and make the drive to Orlando for Saturday’s Magic game.
That would sound crazy a couple of months ago, but the postseason fates of the Heat and Celtics are essentially sealed, and Boston has chosen to sit both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett due to sore left ankles.
The Heat wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the East, seemingly around early November, and it’s now highly unlikely that Boston moves either up or down from the No. 7 seed. The C’s believe there’s no sense in tiring out their two aging stars for the remaining four games of the season, but they should play in at least a couple.
Pierce and Garnett made the trip to Florida, signifying that there’s a good chance they’ll play Saturday. One might also assume that the two will suit up for Tuesday’s game in Boston against the Pacers, and sit out the last game of the year on Wednesday in Toronto.
But after Boston’s relatively lifeless loss at home to the Nets on Wednesday, many question just how “ready” the C’s will be for the Knicks in the first round of the postseason.
Ideally, a team would like to go into the postseason with a little momentum and understanding of who they are and what they have. If that’s the case, the C’s are running out of time.
“You got to understand, we got to raise our intensity at this point of the season,” Pierce said after Wednesday’s loss. “We got to start prepping our mind, our mindset, our game plan and everything we do for the playoffs, and [the loss] was a step back.”
It’s harder to do any of that on the sidelines, and there lies the complication for Rivers: balancing rest for the veterans while preparing them for the postseason.
But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has done much of the same lately. Dwyane Wade has missed the last six games with knee and ankle soreness, but is reportedly going to return Friday. LeBron James has missed four of the last six games.
Rivers knows health is most important right now, not just for his team – but also for himself. He’ll enjoy his Sunday off in Orlando.
“I get to watch the final round of Augusta in my living room,” Rivers said on WEEI of the Masters.