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 NEW YORK (AP) -The Boston Celtics gave their Big Three a night off Monday, with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all sitting out against the New York Knicks.
Reserve guard Eddie House (strained right adductor) also skipped the Celtics' last road game of the season.
Boston has long since wrapped up the NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but coach Doc Rivers let his starters play three quarters Saturday in a victory at Atlanta. Their strong performance that night showed him they are set for the playoffs, which begin this weekend.
``You could just see they're ready,'' Rivers said. ``After watching them that third-quarter performance, that told me that.''
Rivers said he wanted to play them once in the final two games, opting for Wednesday night at home against New Jersey. That also allowed him to sit out his stars against the Knicks, not a bad idea because the teams engaged in some chippy play in January. Pierce and New York's Quentin Richardson were ejected from that game after jawing at each other.
``That crossed my mind, but I had already made up my mind, honestly,'' Rivers said. ``It gave me another reason not to play them.''
James Posey and Leon Powe joined starting center Kendrick Perkins, while Tony Allen replaced Ray Allen in the backcourt.

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