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Celtics leave Big Three in Boston for game in Charlotte

Posted Apr 15 2012 7:00PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Boston Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce did not make the trip to Charlotte, N.C., and will not play in Sunday night's game against the Bobcats.

With the Celtics already having clinched a playoff spot, coach Doc Rivers decided to leave Garnett and Pierce in the New York area after Saturday night's game against the New Jersey Nets to rest. The Celtics have a game Tuesday night at New York.

Ray Allen, who is nursing a sore right ankle, wasn't expected to play and remains in Boston. He's listed as day-to-day.

Rivers said the Celtics had planned to rest Garnett for this game prior to the start of three straight games, but he kept Pierce behind after he jammed his left big toe against the Nets.

Rivers said if this were a playoff game Pierce would play but this is strictly a precautionary measure.

Greg Stiemsma and Mickael Pietrus will start against the Bobcats.

"Having all three of them out obviously hurts our offense," Rivers said.

Rivers said the condensed NBA season has made resting players a priority.

"Rest is the whole key," Rivers said. "The only thing I don't like about this season is some of the games have been decided on endurance.

"It has nothing to do with who is the better team on given nights. That should never happen. But that's what has happened. But we signed up for it and it's not like we didn't know it. Whenever our guys complain about it I say, `Well, you signed up for it."'

Rivers said he hopes Garnett, Pierce and Allen will be back for the Knicks game.

Bobcats coach Paul Silas says he doesn't blame Rivers for the decision and that "I'd do the same thing if I were in his situation."

Rivers said other players, including Rajon Rondo, might get time off down the stretch.

"Anybody who needs it, if we think it will make them better for the playoffs, then yeah, we'll rest them," Rivers said.

The Bobcats are 7-51 this season and have lost 15 straight games.

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