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Boston Celtics: Lockout Could Hurt Team in Regular Season, Help in Playoffs

MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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deleteth accounethCorrespondent IIIDecember 3, 2011

The Boston Celtics are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. Their core group of Ray Allen (age 36), Kevin Garnett (age 35) and Paul Pierce, plus the only center on the roster, Jermaine O'Neal (33), have logged countless minutes in the league.

As Mark Spears of Yahoo! Sports postulated, the Celtics could be one of the teams hurt most by the lockout-shortened season. The prospect of playing back-to-back-to-back games could be extremely difficult for one of the oldest teams in the league.

As Spears theorizes, Celtics fans will likely see members of the Big Three given nights off during triple back-to-backs, a method which would ideally keep the core healthy and rested for a playoff push, but likely diminish the quality of play during the regular season.

In other words, Celtics fans could be in for more than a couple dissatisfying nights this season, as they'll likely have to sit and watch the team struggle to perform when one or more of the Big Three sit out or operate on severely restricted minutes.

But if the Big Three are forced to sit out games at the request of Doc Rivers, more minutes will open up for the bench.

Watching the chemistry of the Celtics' bench slowly dissipate last season due to the injuries of Delonte West, Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal, and highlighted by the Kendrick Perkins trade, was infuriating.

But this season, barring any major injury, the bench will have more minutes to work out the kinks and formulate strong chemistry than perhaps any other Doc Rivers, Big Three-era team.

Historically, the bench as a unit has consistently sacrificed playing time under Doc Rivers in order to produce wins.

In a season where regular-season wins and a first-place bid take the back seat to health, the bench could see more leeway and more floor time to find their niche as a unit. 

Come playoff time, the Celtics might not have the best record. But they could be among the most prepared.

After all, all you need is a ticket to the dance.

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