Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Sticking with Top Rotation Players as Seeding Games Close Out

Sunday, August 9 - Magic at Celtics

Pregame – C’s Plan to Stick With Top Rotation Players as Seeding Games Close Out

Near the tail-end of a typical NBA campaign, playoff-bound teams are likely to work in a few rest days for their main rotation players to allow their bodies to recuperate from the long regular-season grind before embarking on their respective postseason runs. However, this has obviously not been a typical NBA campaign, and so, the buildup into the Playoffs will have a different feel for a team like the Boston Celtics.

“It’s not like we played 80 games and now we’re playing in the Playoffs; we’ve played five,” coach Brad Stevens said with a chuckle ahead of Sunday evening’s matchup against the Orlando Magic. “So we’ve got to continue to get our feel for each other at the level we need to.”

The four-and-a-half-month hiatus threw a wrench into every team’s midseason rhythm, and the playoff-bound and playoff-hopeful squads were only given eight games to rediscover that chemistry.

For the Celtics, there was a bit of rust displayed during the first three games of the restart in Florida, but they seemed to have returned to their old ways during the past two contests which resulted in blowout wins over Brooklyn and Toronto. The team anticipated that there could be some shakiness initially, but now they’re right where they want to be at the most critical time of the season.

“I’m encouraged,” said Stevens, “because we came into this saying, ‘OK, we want to play our best as it goes along.’ And that’s been the case in the last couple (games). We’ll see if we can keep it up.”

Stevens is also happy with where the team’s conditioning is currently at. A few players indicated near the beginning of the restart that they were not 100 percent back into game shape, but that no longer appears to be the case.

Now that the team seems to have found a good rhythm, the coaching staff does not wish to disrupt that. Therefore, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the main rotation players resting much during the final three games as they look to maintain their conditioning, which they have gradually restored over the last few weeks.

“I feel good about our shape now, but you’ve got to keep it up,” Stevens said. “As long as guys feel good, they’ll play for now because I do think rhythm and conditioning are important.”

Kemba Walker is included in that group, as he’s gradually worked his minutes up since dealing with left knee soreness. For Sunday’s game, he has been cleared to play a maximum of 32 minutes, which will allow him to exceed his average of 31.1 minutes per game if need be.

- Taylor Snow

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