Greg M. Cooper/US Presswire
Veterans like Kevin Garnett got some extra rest as the Celtics did not practice Monday.The Celtics did not practice Monday, instead they were simply scheduled for an afternoon flight to Atlanta in advance of Tuesday's Game 5 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Hawks.
Boston owns a 3-1 advantage with a chance to closeout on the road.
The day off, especially one night after a breezy win in which the team was able to offer key players extended rest, should aid the team in its quest to not let this series linger. That said, Boston is ailing with Paul Pierce (knee), Ray Allen (ankle), Avery Bradley (shoulder) and Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) all getting extra attention from coach Doc Rivers and the medical staff on Sunday.
As Rivers noted after the Game 4 triumph: "We had a lot of stuff going on. You may not have noticed... but we had a lot of things going on on our bench today with bodies. You know, [Pietrus'] hamstring, we had to take him out. Avery’s shoulder, Paul’s knee, Ray’s [ankle]. The whole game you... just kept looking down there: Was there enough guys to put in the game? So I was really happy that everybody kept their focus through all the stuff that [team trainer] Ed Lacerte had to do on the bench today.”
As for the status of those players moving forward, Rivers hinted that guys like Pierce, Allen, and Bradley likely remain game-time decisions based on how they bounce back before Game 5.
“I have no idea," Rivers said of Pierce. "You know, with a couple of guys, actually three of them, we literally don’t know. So we’ll find out.”
Many of the Celtics, including Allen, raved about having an offday on Saturday before Game 4 and they believed that rest allowed them to heal up in time for Sunday. It's hard to argue with the result as Boston played its best game of the postseason. Which is why Rivers probably didn't think twice about taking it light on Monday. Players likely went in for treatment, did some light work, and settled in for the 2½-hour flight to Atlanta.
"We overplayed [the veterans in Game 4], and gave them the day off, and they came out with this effort," said Rivers. "I think, over the long run, you have to be right. If you can get two or three of these [lopsided] games [that allow your team to rest], then it has to help.”
(And, yes, on the 10-year anniversary of maybe Allen Iverson's most iconic moment, "We're talking 'bout practice.")