CHARLOTTE, N.C. Less than 24 hours after a thrilling triple-overtime win over Denver, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has no plans to change up his starting lineup for tonight's game against Charlotte.
But it's worth keeping an eye on how Rivers handles the minutes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who played 54 and 47 minutes, respectively.
"We'd like to limit their minutes in the first half as much as possible, but it is what it is," Rivers said.
For Pierce, the 54 minutes on Sunday was the most he played since he dropped 50 points on the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 15, 2006.
As for Garnett, it was the most minutes he played as a Celtic and the most he played overall since logging 51 against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2007 when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Having logged so many minutes, it goes without saying that a Celtics victory will likely involve someone stepping up not named Garnett or Pierce.
"That's every night," Boston's Courtney Lee told CSNNE.com. "It may be some nights someone else might carry the load. But last night, they did for a large amount of time. For sure those guys are probably going to be a little fatigued. Everybody else has to step up and continue to do the things that we've been doing."
Rivers said he will look to his bench more tonight, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Boston's second unit has outscored its backup brethren in each of the C's last seven games - all Boston wins - by an average of 12.8 points per game.
"We're playing 10-deep, sometimes 11 on some nights," Rivers said. "It's just who we are. Everybody understands that, everybody knows. It makes them more comfortable."
And the Celtics are a much tougher team to beat, regardless of how many minutes their core veterans have logged.
With so many different players contributing, the minutes are not going to be consistent night-in and night-out for players.
For example, Lee played just 23 minutes in Sunday's win - the fewest minutes among the starters - while Jason Terry came off the bench and logged a season-high 43 minutes which contributed heavily to his season-high 26 points.
"I didn't have it rolling," said Lee, who had two points while missing four of his five shot attempts against the Nuggets on Sunday. "Doc saw that, made a great sub with J.T. (Terry). It was his night. He had it going, along with Paul and KG. So any given night, it might be someone else's turn. That's what makes us such a great team and why we've been so successful lately. We just have to keep doing what we're doing, keep this winning streak alive."