This is a surprise only because this game has meaning. Boston and Atlanta are an almost certain first-round playoff matchup and going into Friday night’s meeting the Hawks are half a game ahead of the Celtics for home court in that series.
But both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are going to sit out Friday night’s game for rest, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Coach Doc Rivers left himself some wiggle room by saying he would “probably” rest the All-Star duo, but unless you plan to rest them you don’t put it out there.
Combine that with Rajon Rondo (back), Ray Allen (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (knee) and pretty much everyone is out. Which means it’s Greg Stiemsma against the world.
Rivers is right in thinking that rested and healthy players matters more than home court. Particularly to a veteran Celtics team that has been through the wars before — home, away, outdoors at the local park with chain nets, it’s not going to really matter to Boston where the game is played. They will be themselves.