That’s what Doc Rivers is saying about what he’ll do when guys like Gabe Pruitt and Bill Walker struggle while Ray Allen or Paul Pierce are on the bench.
“With Tony (Allen) out and Kevin (Garnett) out and Scal (Brian Scalabrine) playing 4 (power forward), that really puts us in a bind,” Rivers said. “Even if I play a Billy (Walker) and a Gabe (Pruitt) and we’re struggling with them in, I’ve got to sit and take it because I can’t burn Paul and Ray out. That’s going to be a tough one.
“They’re so smart; they know when they have rest coming up. Like the other night in Utah, I wanted to take Paul out, and he begged. He said, ‘Listen, we’re not going to practice tomorrow. I can stay.’ But I don’t look at it for that game. I look at it for the playoffs and legs, so it’s a tough one.
“We have to figure a way of getting through this and keeping their legs at the same time.”
This is the big challenge for the C’s down the stretch. Keeping the Big 3 fresh. I’m telling you… it’s going to mean a few more losses than we’re used to. It might mean Doc Rivers doing like he said… and keeping some guys in longer than he wants. I’m just preparing you all for it now so when it happens, we’re not overrun by “Doc’s an idiot… why did Pierce sit for so long” comments.
And a lot of people will look at last year’s team and say “well… they had problems on the road in the playoffs, so they’ll NEED the top seed.” Well, the top seed will be nice, but those people seem to forget that the Celtics ended the playoffs by closing out Detroit at home and taking the one game they needed in Los Angeles. They got better on the road as the playoffs progressed. Those people aren’t taking into account the adjustments those guys were still making to one another. This year is a different team. We’re not going to see the same thing.
So embrace the rest where those guys can get it. Don’t sweat what will result, because this is going to help us in the long run.