Seven Celtics played 16 minutes or more yesterday, including four (Paul Pierce [stats], Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo [stats]) whose totals were pushed over 40 after overtime. With Brandon Bass fitting into his now-regular starting role with 18 points in 30 minutes against the Knicks, Rivers is getting quality in smaller numbers. "After four games (since the All-Star break) we’re basically at nine," Rivers said of his rotation. "And that’s what we’re going to do. The only guy I try to limit is Kevin. He can have an occasional 40-minute night — just not too many of them. But I like our rotation. I tightened it on purpose.
It is one thing to conserve minutes when you are merely worrying about playoff seedings. When you are in danger of missing the playoffs and losing that one last chance to let this group compete for a title? That's another thing all together.
In truth the team was never really healthy enough to truly conserve minutes too much. Doc did a decent job of easing the guys into the season but now it is time to run with the horses that are going to get you where you want to go. (Sorry JaJuan, you'll just have to wait till next year.)