Celtics veterans get a day off

Celtics veterans get a day off
March 3, 2013, 2:15 pm
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WALTHAM -- With less than two months until the start of the playoffs, Doc Rivers is looking to conserve his veterans' energy when possible. On Sunday, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry were given the day off from practice.

"They can do whatever they want," said assistant coach Armond Hill, who ran the open practice in place of Rivers. "They can go in and lift, but the most important thing is they'll be off their feet."

Paul Pierce, 35, is averaging 34.0 minutes per game, the exact same as last season. This time, though, he is with a pinched nerve in his neck.

The thirty-six-year-old Garnett is on the court an average 30.3 minutes, only 0.8 minutes less than last season in spite of Rivers desire to rest his defensive leader more frequently each year.

Rivers also wants his second unit to be ready going into the postseason. Terry, 35, has been moved back to his sixth man role off the bench and is averaging 26.7 minutes in the last 10 games.

Managing minutes when possible will be key as the Celtics have four back-to-back games this month:

    •    March 5 at Philadelphia 76ers / March 6 at Indiana Pacers
    •    March 12 at Charlotte Bobcats / March 13 vs. Toronto Raptors
    •    March 22 at Dallas Mavericks / March 23 at Memphis Grizzlies
    •    March 26 vs. New York Knicks / March 27 at Cleveland Cavaliers

The veterans understand the importance of resting their bodies, but don't expect them to ask for a night off. Playing through pain and exhaustion is part of their gritty mentality for 82 games -- and beyond.