The Miami Heat (62-16) hold an 11-game lead over the New York Knicks for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, yet LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will all suit up to play against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. The Celtics are already planning to hold Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett out of the contest, and the Milwaukee Bucks still trail Boston by three games as the No. 8 seed, so the decision is a bit curious. The Heat are also four-and-a-half games up on the Thunder for the best overall record in the NBA, so the move doesn't even make sense from that perspective.
The game will be broadcast on NBA TV (7:30 p.m. ET) and the Celtics are a rival team, but it seems like head coach Erik Spoelstra is more focused on cycling through his roster to give everyone some down time. LeBron, Wade and Bosh all had time off earlier in the week, and in this game Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem will get a rest. Rather than play everyone on reduced minutes, the Heat may be trying to give veteran players true days off before a long playoff push to defend their title.