Any Celtics fans in the D.C. area who bought tickets to Monday’s game in hopes of seeing Boston prepare for the postseason with a thrashing of the home-town Wizards is going to be disappointed. Boston may still very well beat Washington, because the Wizards, in the simplest of terms, just aren’t very good. But the Celtics will have to do it with a starting lineup of Delonte West, Von Wafer, Jeff Green, Glen Davis, and Jermaine O’Neal.
Doc Rivers has decided to opt for rest over playoff seeding, and as a result, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and likely Paul Pierce will not play Monday, and will not play in Wednesday’s final game of the regular season against the Knicks either, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN Boston).
As far as the Eastern Conference playoff picture is concerned, this means that the Celtics will likely finish the season where they are right now in the standings, with the No. 3 seed, and a first-round date with the New York Knicks. More importantly, it means that Boston will not have home court advantage over the Heat in a second-round or the Bulls in a conference finals matchup.
The plan for Wednesday is subject to change, according to Rivers, should the Heat unexpectedly lose to Atlanta on Monday.
“It’s a very difficult decision,” Rivers said. “Miami has a tough game tonight, but overall it’s right for the team.”
Boston could go full-speed these final two contests, and attempt to overtake the second-seeded Heat, who currently hold a one-game advantage in the standings. But really, there’s no need to do so. Miami is not likely to lose to the Hawks and/or the Raptors, and for a team that’s been playing just .500 basketball for the past few weeks, using this time to rest and refocus for what would be a very difficult run back to the Finals just makes more sense.