Rivers faces tough task of lowering Garnett's minutes

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Rivers faces tough task of lowering Garnett's minutes

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."

Jimmy Butler reportedly headed to Timberwolves in trade

Jimmy Butler reportedly headed to Timberwolves in trade

Regardless of whether Celtics fans wanted to see Jimmy Butler come to Boston, they don’t have to worry about it anymore. 

ESPN’s Marc Stein was the first to report Chicago was nearing a deal with Minnesota, with the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson following up saying that a deal was agreed upon in principle.

The 30th pick in the 2011 draft, Butler had been linked to the Celtics in trade rumors in recent seasons. That can be put to bed for now. 

Celtics take Jayson Tatum at 3, could be closing in on Paul George trade

Celtics take Jayson Tatum at 3, could be closing in on Paul George trade

When all was said and done, the Celtics kept the third overall pick and selected Duke small forward Jayson Tatum. 

Tatum, who stands at 6-foot-8 and 204 pounds, averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his lone college season. 

Whether Tatum actually stays in Boston may not yet be certain, as Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported as the C’s were making the pick that the team has entered “serious talks” with the Pacers for Paul George. The veteran small forward can become a free agent after next season and is believed to be targeting the Lakers in free agency.

Wojnarowski clarified shortly after that an agreement had not yet been reached. 

As expected, the 76ers took Washington point guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and the Lakers took UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball second. The 76ers received the pick in a deal with Boston that was made official on Monday.