BOSTON — It’s a unique circumstance that surfaces around this time every season: With their playoff fates already determined, NBA teams opt to relegate their stars to the bench, giving them some much-needed rest before the grueling postseason begins.
To rest or not to rest has been an especially hot topic this season, as the Golden State Warriors have had to balance their push for a record 73 wins with keeping their players fresh ahead of what should be a challenging postseason as they defend their NBA title.
It’s a tough call to make, right? Not if you ask Kevin McHale.
McHale was a key contributor on the 1985-86 Boston Celtics team that dominated the league en route to an NBA championship. So, as they cruised to the NBA’s best record, were McHale’s Celtics concerned with conserving energy for the playoffs?
“The guys rested late in the season,” McHale admitted Tuesday at an event reuniting the Celtics’ 1966, 1976 and 1986 championship teams. “But I mean, I think until we had everything cinched up, I don’t think guys were thinking about resting.”
It turns out McHale was just getting started on the subject.
“This rest stuff just drives me crazy,” he added. “You’re playing basketball for a living, OK? I understand, if you work in a coal mine, that you may need a rest day. You’re playing basketball. The joy that comes with competing in basketball — it’s fun to play. I never got tired in a game. How can you get tired in a game? You’re playing basketball. I don’t understand this.
“Honestly, I start thinking I must have missed out on something, the 9-to-5 (job) the guy’s doing before he comes to the game. He must be putting in some serious work in the mine, or doing something. Maybe he was a logger, maybe he was chopping wood. You’ve got all day to sit on your rear end. This rest stuff drives me nuts. I don’t believe in it.”
Well, that settles that.
Golden State apparently agrees with McHale, as the Warriors have kept their foot on the pedal while openly admitting they want to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ wins record. Not surprisingly, McHale is a fan.
“What they’re doing is historic,” he said. “I pull for them all the time.”
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale watches game action against Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center.