It wasn't a blown defensive assignment or one too many open jumpers that made it clear to Kevin Garnett that he needed a break.

"I'm a leg guy when it comes to free throws," he said. "That's how I gauge a lot of things. Me missing free throws is not unusual, but early parts of the game when I'm taking them and missing them ... Doc (Rivers) recognized that."

And so the decision to sit Garnett for the Celtics' 113-88 win over Phoenix was made.

Rivers said that there might be another game or two between now and the playoffs in which the C's would give Garnett a night off.

"It's not my first preference," Garnett said. "I'm an old school kind of guy; I like to play through things. I've always been a person who has been taught to play 82 games. That's my makeup. In this situation, it was probably needed."

Not only did the one-game break give Garnett some much-needed rest, but it also afforded others an opportunity to step up and fill the void that his absence creates.

"Every guy can just step in and step up," said Boston's Chris Wilcox who had 14 points and eight rebounds against the Suns. "It gives other guy's an opportunity to see where their game is, and also gives them extra reps out there."

Seeing how well the C's played on his night off, Garnett quipped about taking tonight's game off as well.

"If we're gonna blow everybody out, I'm not playing Portland," Garnett jokingly told Rivers. "You can have this (bleep)."

On a more serious note, Garnett was pleased to see how his teammates responded in his absence.