Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are headed to South Beach. They won’t play playing there though. The Celtics announced this afternoon that the two veterans will not play against the Heat Friday night to rest their ailing ankles. The absence of both players is likely more of a precautionary move, with the C’s being close to wrapping up the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston holds a three-game lead over the Bucks at the moment, with four games to play for both teams.
That setup leads to a magic number of two for Boston, which means any combination of two Celtic wins and/or Bucks losses clinches the seven seed for Boston. The Celts at this point have very little hope of jumping up in the standings too, trailing the Hawks by 2.5 games, so Doc and the C’s training camp is making the smart play here to rest both guys, with little to play for in the next week.
It’s likely Pierce and Garnett will see limited minutes against Orlando, especially if the C’s lose the game in Miami and have work to do to clinch their 7th spot. If the youngsters take care of business for Boston Friday night, an extended break or perhaps just spot minutes to keep their rhythm might be in order for Pierce and Garnett for the final three games of the year.
At this point, you can probably count on the old guys sitting out the season finale against the Raptors as well, which comes on the second half of a back-to-back. The good news about these guys coming up though? Miami will likely be resting all of their studs too, giving Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and company a chance to steal a confidence boosting win in Florida.
In the meantime, the C’s look resigned to the 7th seed, and appear closer to a first round showdown with the New York Knicks.