Pierce, Garnett out vs. Heat

Pierce, Garnett out vs. Heat
April 11, 2013, 12:30 pm
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MIAMI — The Boston Celtics have kicked off "Strategic Rest: The South Beach edition" with the decision to sit Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for Friday night's game against the Miami Heat.

Both players traveled with the team, but team officials say that both will not suit up. It's unclear if one or both will see action on Saturday at Orlando.

The Celtics (40-38) are currently the seventh seed in the playoffs, and that likely won't change between now and the playoffs. Boston has a three-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, who are in the eighth (and final) playoff spot, and trail Atlanta by 2.5 games for the sixth seed. The Heat (62-16) are the top seed in the East and will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs by virtue of already clinching the best overall record in the league this season.

Based on the current playoff standings, the only way these two would meet up after Friday's game would be in the Eastern Conference finals.

Following a 97-91 loss to Cleveland earlier this week, Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that he would not want to see the Heat to start the playoffs.

"If we play them, we'll be ready," he said at the time. "But of course we would (want to avoid them in the first round). Listen, I'm not that dumb. I'm not the brightest guy, but, really, you would love to avoid any of them."

Following Boston's 101-93 loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday, he once again acknowledged how he would rather see the Heat later than sooner.

"Obviously we want to play Miami," Rivers said. "We do. We just would not like to play them early. We would love to avoid Miami in the first round and then play them; that would mean we're doing very well. So we clearly want to play Miami. We just want to delay it a little bit if we can."