In a way, the Celtics have been a lot like a PC that has been running too long and too many programs at once. There are periods where everything looks like it is running smoothly broken up by several lock-ups, hic-ups, and eventually the blue screen of death. So Doc is doing the logical thing by resting his regulars and essentially CTRL-Alt-Deleting the season.
"This way you get Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and your practice on Thursday can be a great practice with fresh guys, and we can really get to work. So I’d rather do that. The whole reason is that it allows us to have practices with energy, and I think we need that more than anything." Rivers insisted he was not sending a message. "No, we’re ready for the playoffs," he said. "We’ll be ready for the playoffs. This is no deep meaning. Just reset yourself, reset the team."
Perhaps Doc didn't intend this to have a deep meaning, but I see at least a subtle message. With some time off to collect their thoughts the team might grasp the full weight of the opportunity that they have and start to lock into what made them great in the first place. Perhaps this humbling period is what they need to wake them up and realize that they can't just show up at the arena and beat teams just because they beat them earlier in the year. They have to out-work the other teams as much as they have to out-skill them.
That lesson better be learned in time for the first round, because the Knicks have quite a bit of skill on their team and they are rolling along with 7 straight wins right now. It is going to take effort. In fact, it is going to take everyone following the lead of Kevin "I'm so intense that saying that I'm intense is repetitive at this point" Garnett.
There are many "keys" to the playoffs. Rondo has to be on point at the point. Shaq has to give us something from the post. We have to get Ray Allen more shots. We have to remain healthy - at least with the core players. Little that we've seen over the last few weeks gives us much hope that we'll see all that in the post season, but hopefully with a few days off and a fresh start, we'll see the team we know and love come back out to play.