Doc Rivers made it abundantly clear Friday: He chooses rest over home-court advantage.

The Celtics coach sat Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for what could serve as a critical game against the Hawks to determine home court for a potential first-round playoff series. The Hawks are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Celtics after last night's 97-92 victory, and have three games left - home games against the Knicks, Clippers, and Mavericks.

The Celtics get three days off beginning Saturday and end the season at home with the Heat Tuesday and Bucks Thursday. Rivers said he targeted this game as an opportunity to get his frontline players rest. He didn't envision Ray Allen (ankle), Rajon Rondo (back), and Mickael Pietrus (knee) being injured, but stuck with his decision.