Working for the weekend
Take away Game 1 of a first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks -- the Celtics had two days of rest before that, but were coming off the end of the regular season when they had rested players at various times nearing the finish line -- and eight of their nine other postseason games have been played with only one day's rest. The lone exception: The Celtics had two days off before an overtime victory over the Hawks in Game 3 on May 4.
Before Friday's Game 4 versus the 76ers, Celtics coach Doc Rivers spent time discussing the team's philosophy of staying off the court on the day after games this postseason.
"Well, we’re just old," he quipped. "We’ve done that every day, for the most part. With the way the [Sixers] series is constructed so far, we’ve yet to go on the floor between games. It’s just not enough time for recovery with our legs -- if we were younger, we’d be able to do that, but with this team, we’ve learned through the season, they need days off."
Asked later about the perception that his team is old and has no choice but to rest, Rivers expanded on how his team operates.
"We don’t think old. We are what we are. We know that. The rest is important for us," he said. "But I think the rest is important for everybody; I don’t think it matters what age you are. Athletes require recovery, and we understand that. We like to call it 'experience.'
"If we were younger, maybe we would do more [on off days]. I don’t know if it helps you, but it forces you to do things at times that you wouldn’t do. We definitely took more days off this year than we probably ever have. But I think the schedule, and who we are, has forced that action, and, fortunately, most of the time we have common sense to do it."
Rivers made sure to stress that Celtics players (and coaches) still put in plenty of work on their off days. The team often still meets to watch film, and players get in individual workouts.
"When we don’t practice, guys still work on their games," he said. "We didn’t do anything [the day before Game 4], but Kevin [Garnett] was over there shooting. Guys, especially veterans, more than young guys, understand what they need to do to keep them in rhythm. I think young guys, days off are bad, because I don’t think they get that. They think a day off is a day off, they don’t understand what gets you to the next day or the next game. And I think a lot of our veteran guys, if they need a day off, they take it off. Ray [Allen] rarely takes a day off, he’s running somewhere -- down the street, riding a bike; Paul [Pierce was] on the treadmill [before Game 4] at the hotel. They just get their bodies. But they have the experience in that, so that’s an advantage for them."
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