The Celtics are turning to the junior varsity for their matchup with the Hawks at Atlanta, as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are not expected to play, joining Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus on the sidelines.
While Rondo, Allen and Pietrus didn't travel with the team, Pierce and Garnett participated in the shootaround but will be rested for the game, coach Doc Rivers told reporters before the game.
With a three-day break following Friday's game, the Celtics can give Rondo (back), Allen (ankle) and Pietrus (knee) ample time to rest. With two regular season games left at TD Garden next week, Rivers obviously is prioritizing rest over fighting for home-court advantage in the first round. The Celtics, locked in as the No. 4 seed, enter the game a half-game behind the Hawks, currently slotted No. 5.