Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Valuing Reps Over Rest

Sunday, March 12 - Bulls at Celtics

Pregame – C’s Valuing Reps Over Rest During Final Month

BOSTON – It’s commonplace for playoff-bound teams to occasionally rest their top players during the final month of the regular season in preparation for the postseason grind.

The Golden State Warriors, for example, rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green last night, while their opponent, the San Antonio Spurs, gave Kawhi Leonard the night off.

The Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving last week, as well, when they took on the Miami Heat.

This method often means surrendering a win, but teams are willing to make that sacrifice as they eye a lengthy playoff run.

The Boston Celtics, however, may not need to take such a route, according to coach Brad Stevens.

“One of the things that I think has happened to our team, that you don’t necessarily want to go through, is we’ve gotten some rest because of injury,” Stevens said Sunday afternoon before taking on the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden. “So right now I think we’re more focused on finding the best version of ourselves, finding our stride a little bit with regard to playing guys in the minutes they need to play because I just think that we haven’t had a chance to do that enough, and I think that that’s a really important thing moving forward.”

Boston’s preferred starting rotation of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Al Horford have played together just 26 times out of 66 games. They have missed 53 games combined due to various injuries, including 48 absences between Bradley, Horford and Crowder.

Those five guys are still getting used to playing with one another, so they really can’t afford much rest over the final 16 regular season games.

“Obviously as a coach, I think you want to be playing really well in a month (when the Playoffs begin),” said Stevens. “You want to be playing well all the time, but you want to be playing really well in a month. And to do so we’re going to have to be healthy, but we’re also going to have to have some good reps over the next month out of both games and practice.”

Fortunately, Boston’s preferred starting five is fully healthy at the moment. They’ll continue to get reps alongside each other this afternoon vs. the Bulls, and hopefully through the remaining 15 games ahead of postseason play.

- Taylor C. Snow