- With the second seed in the Eastern Conference sewn up for Miami, Erik Spoelstra will be giving his banged up starters a rest tonight at the TD Garden. LeBron James (ankle), Dwayne Wade (finger) and Chris Bosh (hamstring) will all sit out to rest their various ailments, as will Ronny Turiaf (hamstring). All four players remain day-to-day.
- Before gametime Spoelstra was unsure of his starters for the evening besides Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem. With Miami’s All-Stars out of the lineup, Spoelsstra indicated it would be an opportunity for different members of his roster to step up and shine in different roles. “We need them. We need to be complete. We play our best when all our weapons are firing,” Spoelstra explained.
- The Celtics are still fighting for homecourt advantage in the first round against Atlanta, as they trail the Hawks by just one game in the standings with two games remaining. Like Miami though, Boston’s main priority will be health and with that in mind Rajon Rondo (back), Mickael Pietrus (knee), Greg Stiemsma (foot) and Ray Allen (ankle) will all be sidelined tonight. Kevin Garnett will sit out to rest as well, leaving Boston with just two of their regular starters in the lineup.
- With Boston shorthanded, Doc Rivers will be putting forth a bit of a makeshift starting lineup tonight with Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic at the guard spots, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass at forward, and late-season addition Ryan Hollins getting his first start of the season at center for Boston.
- Less than an hour before tipoff, Rivers said Garnett admitted to him that he is still bothered by a hip flexor injury. “Kevin, you can say rest and hip,” Rivers said. “When he comes in and says ‘I need two more days,’ that speaks volumes.” Rivers would have preferred to play Garnett against the Heat and rest him on Thursday night against the Bucks.
- The Celtics hope to have Garnett, Rondo, Pietrus and Stiemsma on the floor for their regular-season finale on Thursday as long as they are healthy. Rivers initially told Pierce that he would sit against Miami, but forward insisted that he play: “Paul said, ‘I need to play both games, I need my rhythm.’ That’s who Paul is.”
– Brian Robb