Celtics have day to rest before taking on Magic

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BOSTON - Celtics coach Doc Rivers has a bed in Boston and a bed in Orlando and will get a chance to sleep in both in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

That's if he gets any sleep at all.

The Celtics played a record seven overtime periods through six games of their first-round series against Chicago, and then beat the Bulls in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Magic. The defending champions had just one day off to rest up for Game 1 of the second round on Monday night at the new Boston Garden.

"And here we are again," Celtics guard Ray Allen said, moments after the Game 7 victory over Chicago kept alive the team's chances of an unprecedented 18th NBA title. "This is a great time of the year for the fans in Boston. There's definitely more basketball, and it's right here coming on Monday."

Boston and Orlando split their four-game regular-season series, a record that is of little consolation for the Celtics because Kevin Garnett missed one and played 16 minutes in the other before aggravating the right knee injury that is expected to keep him out for the duration of the playoffs. He is expected to have surgery as soon as it's clear he won't be ready to help in the postseason.

"We didn't win either game without Kevin," said Rivers, a former Magic coach and still an offseason resident of Orlando. "And so we're going to have to go and find out why."

Confident of victory - or preparing, just in case - Rivers had his staff put a playbook for a possible Orlando series in the players' cars when they arrived at the Garden for Game 7 on Saturday night. He gave the team the day off on Sunday to rest up, meaning the only time they'll work specifically on Orlando would be Monday's pregame shootaround.

"It's similar to last year. I mean, we never got a break in the playoff series last year," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "I'd rather keep playing anyway. I think you get three, four days off you kind of lose it a little bit. Hey, just like the regular season, you play every other day, let's keep it going."

The Magic wrapped up their series against Philadelphia in six games on Thursday, and apparently have time to spare: They watched film of Garnett on Sunday, skeptical of whether the injured star is really out for the playoffs as the Celtics maintain. (Rivers has compared reports of Garnett's return to Bigfoot sightings.)

"I don't have any idea if he'll play, but we watched film on him," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Besides that, it's not like you're going to go, 'Kevin Garnett? I never heard of him. What does he do?' I think we can make that adjustment pretty quickly. I think we all have a pretty good idea of who Kevin Garnett is."

The Magic have their own injuries.

Guard Courtney Lee is recovering from surgery on a fractured sinus that he injured in Game 5 against the 76ers. He has been cleared to play with a protective mask, but he is expected to miss at least the first two games of the Celtics series. J.J. Redick is expected to start in his place.

Lee was injured by teammate Dwight Howard, but another one of the Magic center's wayward elbows almost proved more costly. He was suspended for Game 6 in the first round for hitting Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert, leaving Howard back at his hotel room blogging and Tweeting while his teammates finished off the Sixers.

When he was done rooting for his teammates, Howard took an interest in the Celtics and Bulls.

He got what he wanted.

"If you want to be the champs, you have to beat the champs," he said, dismissing any notion of a Celtics mystique. "I believe in the Magic mystique; I never thought about that. They put on their pants just like we do. There's two baskets on the floor, and seats."

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AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez in Orlando, Fla., contributed to this story.


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