PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics had an extra day off between Games 4 and 5, and they certainly played with a little more bounce down the stretch in an impressive 101-85 Game 5 victory over Philadelphia.
More bounce. An extra day of rest. Is there a connection here?
Celtics coach Doc Rivers certainly believes so.
"No, that's no coincidence," Rivers said.
For Rivers, it was good to see the Celtics take advantage of it. Because if they close out their second-round series with Philadelphia on Wednesday, they'll be playing every other day in the Eastern Conference finals.
But if the Sixers win on Wednesday and force a decisive Game 7 in Boston, that game won't be played until Saturday.
Throughout this season, Rivers has tried to make the most of every opportunity he has had to give his veteran team some rest, which has at times come at the cost of hindering the team's rhythm.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they have had an entire season of this balancing act which in many ways, has served them well in the playoffs.
It's not unusual for teams to have a light practice in between games during the postseason. But for the Celtics, playoffs or not, practice time is often limited to whatever they can accomplish during the team's shoot-arounds prior to playing in games.
"Well with the lockout and all, it's definitely a lot more on-the-fly learning; not just for us, but all teams," Celtics' Keyon Dooling told CSNNE.com. "But we have a team with a lot of guys with high basketball I.Q.'s, so it hasn't really been a big deal or an issue for us."
Following Monday's win, there was no thought on Rivers' part to having practice today.
"We couldn't if we wanted to," said Rivers, whose team is riddled with injured players. "So it's just what we've gone through."
And while it has been an adjustment for the players, it's one that they accept with open arms.
Because for them, getting rest in between games, whether it's the regular season or the second round of the playoffs, is designed with one thing in mind.
And that's to position them to be their best when it matters most -- during games.
That mindset should serve them well heading into Game 6, a game that the C's anticipate will be as rugged a game as they've played in this series.
"We understand how difficult it is (to close out a team), nothing's easy," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "You got a very resilient Philadelphia group who just wont go away. I take my hat off to them, they are one of the better teams we even played in the last few years because of their fight; and they got great coaches and their players are mentally tough. We know theyre not gonna go away so we got to have our hard hats on for the next game, Game 6, to try to put 'em away.