ATLANTA — If there was any question whether Celtics coach Doc Rivers prioritized rest or home-court advantage, he answered it this morning. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett “probably” will not play tonight against the Atlanta Hawks in an important game that could determine whether the Celtics begin the playoffs on the road.
Both players were at the team’s shootaround at Georgia Tech University, but neither will play. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus are back in Boston, meaning the starting lineup tonight is likely Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling, Sasha Pavlovic, Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma.
Rivers said Rondo is progressing after landing on his tailbone pursuing a rebound in Tuesday’s loss to the Knicks. He did not offer updates on Allen (right ankle) or Pietrus (right knee). He said the Celtics will take Saturday and Sunday off and return to practice Monday.
Also, Sean Williams attended the shootaround and will wear No. 56 for the Celtics. He has had well-chronicled problems since joining the NBA and played in the NBADL and in three countries, but Rivers said he appeared to have changed.
“He’s done well, it looks like he’s matured a little bit,” Rivers said. “We’ll find that out. But as a player he can block shots, he can rebound, he can run the floor. We’re going to give him an honest look. To pick a time this year to come, he couldn’t have picked a better time. We’ll throw him in, if not he’ll be in practice.”
Williams, a former BC player, was grateful.
“Thankful to be here with these guys,” he said. “An opportunity to come out here and work hard and work towards getting a championship.”