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Monday, December 12, 2011
Minute watch: KG's new plan

By Chris Forsberg

AP Photo/Bob LeveroneDoc Rivers wants Kevin Garnett to sit down more frequently this season.
With the goal of maximizing Kevin Garnett's floor time, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said this weekend that the team plans to alter his minute structure in the preseason to see if three short stints per half are more effective than the previous pattern.

"We have a game plan for him," said Rivers. "We are going to have to change his minutes. He’s down to 30 or 29 [per game], I don’t think we can get much less than that. But how we did his minutes will change, at least we’ll try to. That may not work, and then we’ll go back to other way. We want him to play in shorter bursts, no more than five minutes in a row, then sit him. He'll maybe play three times each half. We’re going to try it in the two preseason games and if it doesn’t work, we'll go the other way."

Typically, Garnett started the odd quarters, logging roughly seven or eight minutes, then came back for the final seven or eight of the even frames. Now, Boston will flirt with playing him in three different five-minute bursts per half.

Garnett's minutes jumped up a bit last season, but that was related more to health than a change in philosophy. After averaging 29.9 minutes per game in 2009-10 season, Garnett jumped to 31.3 minutes per game last season. That's more in line with what he's averaged over his four seasons in Boston (never topping the 32.8 minutes per game in 2007-08).

As for the other members of Boston's Big Three -- Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, whose minutes both went up last season -- Rivers acknowledged a desire to get them back dow a bit, especially in a condensed 66-game season. With that in mind, the Celtics put a focus on the bench in this post-lockout offseason. Thin on the depth at swingman last season, especially when Marquis Daniels went down last year, the Celtics have added plenty of bodies behind Pierce to ensure his health.

"[The bench is] vital," said Rivers. "I spent more time with Danny and his staff than I ever have. Right when you saw that we were going to have this season, my first thought was bench. Get as many 4s as you can get, get as many players as you can get -- we’re going to have to use them all."

That's easier said than done for Rivers, who often leans heavy on his veterans. But he seems willing to shuffle things up a bit this season and it starts with Garnett's minute pattern.