BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will start the first round of the playoffs against the Hawks in Atlanta.
In spite of the Cs 87-74 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Hawks topped the Dallas Mavericks, 106-89, to earn home court advantage in the opening round of the Eastern Conference series.
The Celtics finished the regular season 39-27 while the Hawks edged them out, 40-26.
Theres nothing we could do about it, said head coach Doc Rivers. They won, and so were going to Atlanta.
This is the first time since the New Big Three era the Celtics will not begin the postseason at the TD Garden. The Cs are 24-9 at home this season and 15-18 on the road. The Hawks are 23-10 in Atlanta and 17-16 away.
Looking back on the regular season, Rivers can pinpoint certain games that could have changed the playoff scenario had the Celtics pulled them off. But in the last few weeks he has been faced with the challenging decision -- play the starters and run the risk of compromising their health or rest the starters for the postseason and run the risk of losing games.
In the end, Rivers opted for rest on several nights. He is willing to deal with the outcome.
Wed rather not (open on the road), said Rivers. Honestly. It would have been easier to open up at home, but were just not. We had to make tough choices. Looking at Kevin (Garnett), the way he ran today, I was happy with the choice. He looked like his legs were back. So for me, that answered the question.
Then I looked at the scoreboard and I was hoping Dallas was winning the game so we could get everything. But listen, weve earned the road because of our record. You can look at games -- we lost two in Toronto, we lost a lot of games early in the year. That is the reason we are on the road, so we earned that.
And well have to be ready for it.
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