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    Garnett sits out his first game of the season

    Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett during a game against the Denver Nuggets Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.
    David Zalubowski/AP Photo
    Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett during a game against the Denver Nuggets Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

    PHOENIX -- Kevin Garnett missed his first game of the season Friday, sitting out to rest against the Suns here at the U.S. Airways Center.

    Doc Rivers said he could tell that the 36-year-old Garnett hasn’t been the same since he played a triple-overtime game against Denver Feb. 10, after which the Celtics played in Charlotte the following night and against Chicago two days later.

    “I just think since that game, you can see he’s been tired,” Rivers said.

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    Rivers said Garnett didn’t disagree when Rivers spoke to him about sitting out.

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    “He was fine with it, which told me it was the right thing,” Rivers said. “He didn’t put up a fight at all, and that tells you we were probably a game or two too late. We should’ve done it a game earlier.”

    Garnett will probably sit at least one or two more times before the playoffs, Rivers said.

    Going forward, Rivers acknowledged that over the next 27 games, health and rest will be more of a focus as the Celtics prepare for a potential playoff run.

    “Listen, we’re not going to be a one seed,” he said. “We know that. We just want to be a seed. We’ve got a lot of road games. We’ve got to win games. The neat thing is we’re very close to the fifth seed. It’s going to be health now, for sure, for us.”

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    Entering Friday, the Celtics sat in sevemth place in the Eastern Conference standings, two games behind Atlanta for sixth place and three games behind Chicago for fifth place.