When it was announced that none of the starters would suit up for the Celtics tonight, nobody was surprised. In fact, it made perfect sense. There's no reason to put any player you're especially counting on for the playoffs at risk of getting injured - and this is just the season that it would happen too.
The C's trotted out a lineup completely made up of the bench, some of which won't sniff time in the playoffs. Still, they were able to beat the Knicks, 112-102 - sans Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
The game wasn't all for nothing though. We got another good look at members of the second unit who will contribute in the playoffs starting Sunday night at 7:00 .p.m - guys like Jeff Green, Glen Davis, Carlos Arroyo, and who knows - maybe even Sasha Pavlovic and Von Wafer.
One player who most likely won't get any playing time in the playoffs is rookie Avery Bradley. Consider game No. 82 his coming out party though.
Bradley was known as a defender coming out of college, but was rarely used in many situations - at least important ones - this year. But perhaps Celtics fans got a little glimpse of what Bradley can do in the future, as his effort on defense and aggressiveness on offense was certainly something to note. Coming into the game, Bradley only had 33 points to his name. He had 20 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals tonight.
Before the game, Doc Rivers was asked if he had decided who his 12th man was going to be for the playoff roster. Rivers said he had not decided yet, but tonight would be a good game to base it off of. Wafer and Pavlovic plan to both be in the running for that 12th spot and both probably had their best games of the season.
Wafer ended the night with 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists while Pavlovic dropped 19 points on 4-5 from three-point territory.
The decision on who to suit up could be based on the health of Delonte West, or how the two players match up with opponents - but as Doc Rivers also noted, the story isn't who suits up, but if they have to play.
All in all, there are no complaints on this end at the performance and effort from the bench tonight. The Celtics end the regular at 56-26, six more wins than last season's team.
Here's to hoping for one more playoff win than last season.
16 more wins to go - will somebody please get the countdown going?