PHOENIX — Kevin Garnett will miss tonight’s game with a sore right knee. He is not with the team, and Rasheed Wallace will start in his place.
However, Rajon Rondo will play despite a sore left hamstring.
But don’t expect the Suns to adjust their game plan just because two-thirds of the Big Three will be MIA.
“We (will) guard the way we would if they would play,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “Really, and I say that because we’re trying to establish something defensively, so we don’t make a lot of changes or do a lot of things. We don’t even do it on Kobe.
“We’re just trying to be solid in what we’re doing, so if guys don’t play it’s not like we went over a huge scouting report and then, ‘Oh my God, KG’s not playing, everything’s completely different.’ We’ll just be consistent in what we’re doing.”
Garnett and Pierce account for one-third of Boston’s scoring and a much bigger chunk of their team’s leadership. They are the Celtics’ stars, and Boston is much weaker with them out.
But what could be even bigger is how this weakens the Celtics’ bench with Wallace and Tony Allen now forced into the starting lineup. Aside from Eddie House, nobody on the Celtics’ bench tonight averages more than six points per game.
After Phoenix’s bench dominated the Lakers, with the Suns getting 52 points off the pine on Monday night, a similar situation could emerge in this one.
However, Gentry does not expect his squad to take Boston lightly in the least bit even without Garnett and Pierce and even after the big win over the Lakers.
“There won’t be a letdown,” Gentry said. “They know that these guys are good. Paul is a great player, but these guys have been without some of their star players anyway, and when you’re a championship team one guy I think you can take out. When you’ve won a champinship then you know how to do it. Usually you have some guy step up because he wants everyone to know that he belongs anyway.”
After taking down the Celtics in Beantown earlier this season, the Suns will be attempting to join last year’s Lakers as the only teams to sweep the Celtics in a season series since Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces with Pierce before the 2007-08 season. In fact, only four teams have won multiple games in a single season against the Celtics during this stretch.
“I thought we did a good job of spreading the floor, and the bottom line is we made a bunch of shots, and when you make shots, especially us when we make shots, we’re pretty doggone good,” Gentry said about the Nov. 6 meeting at TD Garden. “We did a good job of rebounding. We took away some of the physicality just because we were out on the floor.”
With Boston reeling to begin with having lost to the Clippers and Warriors in their last two outings, the Suns should be able to muster enough juice to take down the last two NBA champs in back-to-back games.
Then again, we know what happened to the Suns when they started to get a bit complacent in December, so the injury of Garnett on top Pierce’s could be both a blessing and a curse.