Wedesday, April 12 – Bucks at Celtics
Pregame – C’s Minutes Management Paying Off
BOSTON – Brad Stevens and his coaching staff have taken a conscious effort in managing their players’ minutes this season. As a result, the Boston Celtics are feeling as fresh as can be heading into their final game of the regular season tonight against Milwaukee, and they should feel well-rested heading into the Playoffs this weekend, as well.
No player on the team has averaged more than 34.0 minutes per game this season. The leader in that category, Isaiah Thomas, doesn’t even rank among the top 30 players in minutes per game this season. All other Celtics rank outside the top 40 in minutes per game.
“It’s a long term thing that you’re trying to manage within a game, which is hard to do,” said Brad Stevens. “But very rarely do those guys get into the high 30s or low 40s. There may be a case or two when they got into the low 40s, but that’s something that we try to do, and hopefully it’ll be a benefit.”
As strange as it may seem, Stevens admits that Boston’s plethora of early-season injuries may also help the team benefit in the long run. The team has been relatively healthy during the last couple of weeks, which has allowed the starters to gain rhythm alongside one another. Meanwhile, many other playoff-bound teams are resting their top starters down the stretch after playing a full slate of games.
“The silver lining of the injuries that we went through was everybody sat,” said Stevens. “Avery (Bradley) missed almost two months, Al (Horford) missed 15 games, Jae (Crowder) missed 10 games, and so we’ve had a good number of games missed due to that. As a result, we feel like it’s more important to play right now and continue to play together.”
Despite the minutes limitation and the large number of injuries the Celtics have faced, they will head into tonight’s regular season finale with the opportunity to clinch the No. 1 seed in the East. They will do so with a fully healthy and rested arsenal of players, which will hopefully carry over and allow them to experience a deep postseason run.
– Taylor C. Snow