WALTHAM, Mass. — D.J. White and Terrence Williams haven't seen much playing time since joining the Celtics in March. But qith only five games remaining, there's a good chance both of the sparsely-used backups will see a rise in their playing time.
"You have to be ready," said White who has seen just under four minutes of action in the month of April. "I just treat it like any day, get my work in and just be ready to play."
Coach Doc Rivers has said several times that his priority at this point is to make sure his core guys are as healthy as possible heading into the postseason, which will begin in less than two weeks.
That means cutting back their playing time, or in the case of some players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, holding them out of games altogether.
Although Williams doesn't figure to be in the Celtics' playoff rotation, he has seen an increase in minutes lately.
Williams averages 3.9 points in 12.2 minutes per game this season. But in the Celtics' last four games, he has averaged 6.3 points while playing 16.8 minutes per game.
"I don't look at the last four games, last three games, that I'm going to play more," Williams said. "If it was 72 games left, I'm going to play the same, bring the same kind of energy whether I was starting or coming off the bench. It doesn't really faze me."
How reserve players like White and Williams handle their roles in the coming games will indeed be a factor in the Celtics' chances of closing out the season strong.
Here are some factors that may come into play tonight as the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rebounding is always a wild adventure for the Boston Celtics, especially on the offensive glass. They face one of the best teams in the NBA when it comes to grabbing offensive rebounds, with the Nets coming in averaging 12.8 offensive boards a game, fifth in the league.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Brooke Lopez. Garnett had an impressive debut in his return after an eight-game absence against Washington, but Lopez will present a much stiffer challenge with his size, strength and ability to score around the basket against most defenders -- Garnett included.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Reggie Evans isn't much of a scorer for Brooklyn, but there are few players who can impact the game as much as he can. He averages 10.8 rebounds per game but does so in just over 24 minutes per game.
STAT TO TRACK: Getting off to a good start will be huge for the Celtics if they are to win tonight. Brooklyn ranks third in the NBA in first-quarter points, with 26.2 per game. For each of the remaining three quarters of play, the Nets are ranked among the league's bottom 10 in scoring.