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Celtics coach Brad Stevens emphasizing rest for Al Horford as playoffs near

Brad Stevens, Al Horford

With five games left in the regular season, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens emphasized the importance of resting players, particularly Al Horford who has been pivotal for the team this season.

Speaking to reporters during shootaround, Stevens pointed out that letting Horford rest in some of their few remaining games will be crucial for Boston, as he is expected to be used heavily in the postseason.

“It’s been a huge emphasis, obviously, to sit him out twice in the last couple of games. We tried to monitor him a little bit in the Cleveland game, especially. Ultimately, he’s really important to us. There’s no question about it. Playing either the five or the four, we’re going to need him to play at a high level and he’s been great the better part of the second half of the year and we all know what he’s been like in the playoffs the last couple of years.”

The Celtics are currently tied with the Indiana Pacers for the fourth best record in the East, but they would like to finish the season as the fourth seed because it will give them the home court advantage in the first round. The last five games of Boston are against the Miami Heat (twice), the Pacers, the Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards. The team has to figure out when to play Horford and when to sit him out.

“That’s something you have to manage appropriately with everybody, but certainly it’s been a huge emphasis with him. We’re not as deep at that spot as far as how he plays. He gives us a different dimension with his ability to stretch the floor and guard smaller guys as well.”

Al Horford is the Celtics’ starting center, and if he goes down with an injury, then the team will be at a disadvantage in the post. If the playoffs started today, they will go up against the Pacers, who has two towering big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. With that said, it will be crucial for Boston to have big Al ready for the postseason.