BOSTON (AP) – Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers would be “very, very surprised” if Kevin Garnett, resting a sore right knee, isn’t playing in the opening game of the playoffs.

Rivers also said Wednesday night he thinks the Celtics can win their second straight championship even if Garnett is not completely healthy.

“I believe that,” he said before Boston’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats. “Defensively is where we need him. Offensively we need his shot and all that, his leadership on the floor. And I think he will be 100 percent or close to it.”

Garnett missed his third straight game and 16th in Boston’s last 20 on Wednesday night. He’s expected to miss at least three more and could return for the final three regular season games.

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