CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Paul Pierce missed his first game of the season here Tuesday when the Celtics captain sat out against the Charlotte Bobcats to rest. Forward Jeff Green started in Pierce’s place, making his second start of the season.
Coach Doc Rivers said he made his decision based on the team’s travel schedule, particularly because of the flight from Boston to Oklahoma City Saturday and then the game at noon (Central Standard Time) Sunday against the Thunder.
Sunday was also the day clocks moved an hour forward.
Coupled with their long flight and the time change, Rivers wasn’t thrilled with the early start against Oklahoma City, a game that was nationally televised.
“That wasn’t the brightest decision our league has ever had,” Rivers said.
Rivers said that taking all those factors into account, he knew he would sit one of the “three elderly gentlemen on our team” no matter who won Sunday’s game, a reference to Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, all of whom are 35 or older.
Pierce, who is averaging 18.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 6.4 rebounds, was fine with the decision, Rivers said.
“I don’t get a lot of kickback right now when I sit one of them,” Rivers said, jokingly. “It used to be you had to fight those guys. I don’t know what’s going on. They don’t fight back anymore when I say I’m going to sit them.”