Yahoo! Sports recently reported on Doc Rivers’ plan of lowering the minutes of his veteran stars later in the season in preparation for the playoffs. While Rondo and the Big Three collect most of the attention for Boston’s playoff surge, DBSF believes this strategy should remind NBA fans of Rivers’ status as an elite NBA coach.
Consider the following. Prior to the NBA All-Star break, the Celtics won 78% of their games with Pierce playing an average of 35.5 minutes per game (mpg), Garnett playing 30.6 mpg, and Allen playing 36.7 mpg. In an effort to rest (and to allow physical recuperation) Rivers reduced the Big Three’s playing time after the All-Star break so Pierce was down to 31.5 mpg, Garnett to 28.8 mpg, and Allen to 32.9 mpg.
Of course the reduction in playing time came at a cost as the Celtics won only 61% of their games after the All-Star break, and fell to a four-seed where they would have to face a fresh Cavalier’s team in the second round. Now in the Finals and with a healthy player corps—save Marquis Daniels—Rivers’ plan appears to have paid off.