Rivers faces tough task of lowering Garnett's minutes

Rivers faces tough task of lowering Garnett's minutes
June 5, 2012, 12:22 am
Share This Post

MIAMI This time of year, it's a given that the best NBA players with games remaining on the docket will play more minutes.

Fatigue is always a concern, even more so - you would think - for a team like the Boston Celtics.

No need to toss out the old man jokes, or the geriatric jabs, either.

They know.

For C's coach Doc Rivers, it's not that big of a concern despite having a team that's significantly older than his opponent, the Miami Heat.

And with just one day in between the games, it's not like they're going to get a ton of rest, either.

Rajon Rondo (46.5), Ray Allen (41.4) and Paul Pierce (40.5) are all averaging more than 40 minutes per game - all significantly higher than their regular season averages.

But it's the guy next in line for minutes played - Kevin Garnett - who Rivers would love to find a way to drop his minutes a little bit.

Throughout the season, Rivers has gone to great lengths to keep Garnett's minutes in the low to mid-30s.

Four games into this series, and Garnett has already a pair of games in which he played more than 40 minutes - a trend Rivers has no intention of continuing, if it can be helped.

But truthfully, it can't.

The C's have every intention of doing all it can to win this series.

Part of that blueprint for success involves Garnett logging major minutes because of his ability to impact the game in the paint at both ends of the floor.

When games end and Rivers is given a final statistic sheet of the night's events, the first thing his eyes gravitate on, is the minutes played by Garnett.

He did so once again after Boston's 93-91 overtime win in Game 4 that has the series now tied at 2-2 with Game 5 in Miami on Tuesday.

"I went right to Kevin's minutes," Rivers said. "And I turned to my coaches and said, 'I don't like this.' This is twice in this series.

Rivers was bothered by Garnett playing more than 43 minutes.

"It's too many," Rivers said. "Obviously it's tough to avoid in overtime."

The concern, naturally, is that it will impact his ability to be a factor tomorrow night in a pivotal Game 5 battle that's likely to include the return of Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) who may see his first action in this series.

"I just know that that's a lot of minutes," Rivers reiterated. "That's twice now in four games in eight days. That's just a lot of minutes for him."