BOSTON — Fourteen NBA teams have been home resting for nearly two full months at this point. When you miss the playoffs, you get that semi-luxury of putting your toes up, healing your wounds and enjoying the summer.
The Celtics and Lakers, meanwhile, are battered and bruised heading into Game 4 of the Finals. Not that they're complaining or anything, but they've been playing games for nearly eight months and that takes a toll.
"Mentally, you're in the Finals, so whatever is wrong with you, whatever it may be, if your body is aching, you tend to just overlook that because you're in the Finals," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "Mentally, you've got to be strong. Physically, you've got to go all out."
On days off, it's all about maximizing their time to get rest. Even if a cross-country flight diminishes those chances, the smart veterans do what they can so they can peak physically for each game.
"You try to get as much rest as possible," Perkins said. "It's hard because you're traveling from Boston to L.A., the time difference, but it's all about discipline. I think you've got to discipline yourself to get rest and just go from there."
C's captain Paul Pierce told the team two days ago they've only got a week and a half of basketball remaining. His message: Be smart, dedicate yourself on and off the floor, and the summer is right around the corner. That all comes with experience.
"Two years ago, you didn?t know what to expect going into the Finals or coming into the playoffs," Perkins said. "Now, you kind of know what to expect and how the intensity level is up and stuff like that, so you're a little bit more prepared."