“Our resolve has stuck out to me,” Rivers said . “Thirteen or 14 games ago, when we lost in Orlando, I couldn’t read a paper or go online or see on TV that we’re seeing we’re the third seed.
“Everybody just assumed that’s where we would be and we’re the second seed. “We went through that stretch without Kevin and Leon (Powe ) and Tony (Allen ) and (Brian Scalabrine ) and we won games. We won 10 out of 11 to get it. I thought that said a helluva lot about our team,” Rivers added .
Of course, he would love to have No. 5 at the 4-spot come the opening of the playoffs this weekend at TD Banknorth Garden .
And of course, with Garnett expected to return to practice on Thursday in Waltham, most questions Wednesday night had to do with a certain sore right knee.
“It probably won’t be 100 percent but his intensity will be 100 percent and that’s so important to our team,” Rivers said of Garnett . “He has so much to give our basketball team when he’s on the floor and we feed off that.”
Rivers insisted that Garnett, at this point, will be ready for the playoffs, assuming he gets through the next two days of practice.
“He’ll play and if we don’t like what we see, he won’t,” Rivers said. “We haven’t seen him play so we don’t know how it will turn out tomorrow and then if he does, how he will feel the next day. So we’ll wait and see.”
Rivers is well aware that Garnett has played in just four games since suffering the injury on Feb. 19 at Utah.
“As far as rhythm and timing is concerned, there’s always concern,” Rivers said.
Rivers reiterated Wednesday that Garnett’s knee issues are not structural to his knowledge, but rather general soreness.
“I know that’s what it is,” the coach said. “It can be pretty bad, obviously, because he’s not playing. Right now, there’s no limitation but we won’t know that until (Thursday).”
With Garnett and Scalabrine (post-concussion), there is a great deal of thought being put into a Plan B.
“Scal is the same way, if he did get clearance we don’t know,” Rivers said. “It’s a gray area. It’s no fun for any of us. As a staff, you really have to think of two gameplans. You have to prepare yourself for the best and the worst.”
On a different subject, Rivers can relate with Mike Brown , coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers , who enters the playoffs as the clear favorite to reach the NBA Finals  from the East for the second time in three years.
“They’ll feel their own pressure,” Rivers said. “They’ll feel the type of pressure we felt last year as a No. 1 seed, which is a different type of pressure.”