PHILADELPHIA -- In the midst of a stretch that features five games in seven days, including back-to-backs to close out the week, Celtics coach Doc Rivers followed through on his plan to offer his veterans rest Tuesday night against the 76ers, trotting out a starting lineup he hopes he never has to utilize in the regular season.
Boston rolled out a starting unit of Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels, Jermaine O'Neal, Von Wafer and Nate Robinson as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Shaquille O'Neal were all given the night off.
Delonte West would have started with the normal second unit, but his back continues to be a problem and he'll get a night off to prevent those spasms from flaring up any worse. West missed a practice last week, then sat out much of the second half in a win over New Jersey on Thursday.
Rajon Rondo will dress, but only be utilized in emergency situations.
Rivers had to stop and think about the lineup before giving it to reporters, but indicated the Big Three will play Wednesday night in New York. Shaq could get another night off against the Knicks due to lingering soreness.
"With the back-to-back, we decided to play them [Wednesday]," Rivers said of his regular starters. "We practiced today. We were here [for two hours] and got in a good practice."
ROOKIE BRADLEY SET FOR FIRST ACTION
The Celtics will get a small boost as rookie guard Avery Bradley is expected to log the first game action of his career. Bradley has been shelved for much of the past three-plus months after ankle surgery. The 19th pick in June's draft returned to the practice floor this week and is excited for his first court time.
"Feels like forever," he joked about the wait as he slipped on his No. 0 game jersey after an extended warm-up on the floor.
Said Rivers: "Avery will play, that's real big for us. I'm not sure how many minutes he can play, we want to play him as many minutes as possible, but his body will tell us."
J.O. WILL BE LIMITED TO 20 MINUTES
After logging seven minutes in his exhibition debut Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, Jermaine O'Neal shouldn't top more than 20 minutes against the Sixers.
"We'll try to build his minutes up, but we will go shorter with him," said Rivers. "He'll play the first seven minutes of the first quarter, five or six [minutes] in the second, and the first seven [minutes] of the third. No matter what the score is, he will not play in the fourth quarter.
"He has to catch up, he missed camp days, too. You could see in the skeleton [offense] today, he doesn't know our stuff yet. We need him to catch up."