Boston Celtics

Since the Boston Celtics have secured the number two spot in the Eastern Conference, they now have an opportunity to rest some key players over the last four games of the regular season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (49-30) trail the Celtics by 4.5 games in the East, with three game remaining. Meaning that the Cavs have no shot at passing the Celtics in the standings prior to the start of the NBA Playoffs.

With that being said, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has a prime opportunity to rest some of his key players down the final stretch. Especially with the C’s playing two games this weekend, followed by back-to-back games next week.

And between the C’s recent string of injuries, it’s probably a good idea for the team to give a few players some extra rest because most of them have been logging some serious minutes.

REPORT: Kyrie Irving Will Undergo Another Procedure, Will Miss NBA Playoffs

The Celtics will be giving both Al Horford and Jayson Tatum the night off on Friday against the Chicago Bulls. But Shane Larkin will be available after missing the last few games with an illness.

Over the C’s final four games, they have matchups against three of the bottom five teams in the East and one against a potential playoff opponent in the Washington Wizards.

Here’s how the final stretch of the Celtics’ 2017-2018 stacks up:

  • Friday, April 6 vs. Chicago Bulls (#11 @ 27-51) – Season Record: 2-1
    • Bulls are riding a three-game winning streak.
  • Sunday, April 8 vs. Atlanta Hawks (#15 @ 22-57) – Season Record: 3-0
    • Hawks were recently riding a four-game losing streak and are currently riding a two-game losing streak.
  • Tuesday, April 10 @ Washington Wizards (#7 @ 42-37) – Season Record: 1-2
    • Celtics won in overtime and lost in double overtime earlier in the year.
    • Wizards are riding a three-game losing streak.
  • Wednesday, April, 11 vs. Brooklyn Nets (#13 @ 26-53) – Season Record: 3-0

This season Jaylen Brown is averaging 30.8 minutes-per-game, which is up 13.6 minutes from last year. And Terry Rozier III is averaging an extra 8.6 minutes on the floor this season, at an average of 25.7 minutes-per-game.

Over their last games played, Marcus Morris is averaging a hefty 33 minutes, with Shane Larkin spending on average 24.4 minutes-per-game.

Through his first season in the NBA, rookie Jayson Tatum has averaged an impressive 30.6 minutes-per-game. And veteran Al Horford is averaging slightly below high career average at 31.7 minutes-per-game.

With Kyrie Irving now out until next season, the Celtics have formally signed Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles guard Jonathan Gibson, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports!.

By signing Gibson, the Celtics add much needed depth at the guard position. And add another player to a depleted C’s bench.

The NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, April 14.

RELATED: Celtics Lose Second Straight In, 96-78, Loss To East Leading Raptors

UP NEXT: The Celtics (53-25) welcome the Chicago Bulls (27-51) to the TD Garden on Friday for the first of two home games over the weekend. Catch the call of the game with Jon Wallach and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.

— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.