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CHARLOTTE — The Celtics will be playing without Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett tonight as they attempt to give their veterans rest for the playoffs that begin in two weeks. Allen is out with that sore right ankle and is “50-50” to play Tuesday against the New York Knicks, according to coach Doc Rivers.

Pierce is resting his jammed left big toe sustained in Saturday’s 94-82 win over the New Jersey Nets while Garnett is just getting a break.

So the Celtics will be challenged tonight by a Charlotte team that promises to run at every opportunity with its opponent playing a third game in three nights. It could be a ragged contest tonight.

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STARTING LINEUPS

BOSTON CELTICS (35-25)

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Avery Bradley
SF Mickael Pietrus
PF Brandon Bass
C Greg Stiemsma

INACTIVES: Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (7-51)

PG D.J. Augustin
SG Gerald Henderson
SF Derrick Brown
PF DJ White
C Bismack Biyombo

INACTIVES: Corey Maggette, Eduardo Najera

OFFICIALS: Greg Willard, Brent Barnaky, David Guthrie