( Editor’s Note: Doc Rivers could play all his starters tonight and make this column moot. But does anyone expect that, especially after his quote in the next paragraph?)
So how does a team that has already clinched the fourth seed — win, lose, or draw tonight — celebrate “Fan Appreciation Night?” By resting its starters, in all likelihood. Doc Rivers says he’s pretty sure “I know a couple guys who will definitely be sitting [tonight].” That sounds like a perfect way to throw a Fan Appreciation Night bash, eh?
“Let’s show those fans how much we care about them by sitting everyone they’d like to see!”
“We’ll just have Paul Pierce address the crowd before the game, then show the crowd a few fan highlights, and they might not even notice the stars aren’t playing on Fan Appreciation Night!”
“Wait, fan highlights? What, exactly, are those?”
“You know, people dancing in the crowd, or wearing bizarre outfits, or even pretending to give their friends sexual favors during a timeout!”
“Oh, sweet. Yeah, nobody will care that the stars aren’t playing on Fan Appreciation Night if they show those clips. People won’t even realize there is a game going on!”
Okay, let’s take a step back. I’m fine with Doc Rivers resting his starters on the final night of the season. After the Celtics clinched the fourth seed, they have nothing to gain by winning tonight. Absolutely nothing. Tonight’s game, therefore, amounts to the equivalent of an exhibition. (Well, that is, unless Miami tanks against New Jersey and loses, then Boston gets beat by Milwaukee and ends up playing Milwaukee rather than Miami. But, if not for that scenario, tonight’s game has as much affect on the NBA standings as me picking my nose.)
So whose fault is it, then, that at least a few starters probably won’t play on Fan Appreciation Night? Is it the fans’ fault, for buying a ticket to Fan Appreciation Night on the final night of the season, knowing full well the starters would likely sit at least a long portion of the game? Or the owners, or whoever made up the stupid promotion in the first place, for scheduling Fan Appreciation Night on the last night of the regular season, when the Eastern Conference seeding would almost inevitably be set in stone?
I blame the owners, or the advertising people, or the marketing crew, or whatever imbecile decided to put Fan Appreciation Night on the season’s final night. Hell, even if none of the starters play, the fans might not even be able to see Brian Scalabrine suit up one last time; Mr. Spray Tan has a shoulder injury.
So sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn, and get ready to watch a whole lot of Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, Michael Finley, Tony Allen and Glen Davis. Fan Appreciation Night sure is great!