|02.07.10 at 3:35 pm ET|
Playing one of their most complete quarters in recent memory, the Celtics opened up a 51-40 lead at the half.
The Celtics opened the second quarter with five reserves on the floor, a departure from their usual rotation of either Ray Allen or Paul Pierce teaming up with four bench players. The second unit responded well as Marquis Daniels scored six quick points on post-ups.
Rasheed Wallace also continued his mastery over Dwight Howard by getting Howard to commit a needless offensive foul, the third of the half for the All-Star big man. Howard played just eight minutes in the first half with two points and three rebounds.
The Celtics gradually built a lead that grew to double digits after Rajon Rondo found Pierce for a 3-pointer with a gorgeous look-away pass in traffic. Rondo has 11 points, three rebounds and four assists, while Allen also had 11 points and Pierce added nine. Kevin Garnett was held scoreless but contributed five rebounds and his usual stellar help defense.
|02.07.10 at 3:00 pm ET|
With Paul Pierce back in the lineup, and Marquis Daniels suited up, the Celtics took the floor for the first time this season with all of their top rotation players. They came out suitably aggressive, attacking the basket and getting Dwight Howard in early foul trouble to take a 24-23 lead.
When Howard went to the bench, however, the Magic reeled off seven straight points to take a 17-16 lead. As he did in Orlando the last time these two teams played, Marcin Gortat gave the Magic energy when he came off the bench.
Pierce played 11 minutes and scored six points. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo also scored six points apiece, while Jameer Nelson led all scorers with seven. Daniels checked in late in the quarter and received a nice ovation.
|02.07.10 at 2:00 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed before Sunday’s game that Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels will play against the Magic. Pierce missed the last two games with a left mid-foot strain while Daniels has been out since having surgery on a torn ligament in his left thumb.
“I didn’t think he looked great [Saturday] so we’ll just see,” Rivers said. “A lot of times, it’s just him testing it out instead of playing on it so it can fool you.”
Rivers said he did something he rarely does. He asked Pierce how he feels the day of the game.
“I went to him today, which I rarely do and went back to him, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘The pain’s on the top of the foot. It’s not anything under the foot. I can push off fine I just hope I don’t get kicked in it or stepped on.
“I said, ‘I’m sure that’s going to happen now.’ That’s all he’s concerned with.”
[Click here to hear Rivers talk about Pierce’s return before the game.]
Pierce didn’t speak before the game about his return but Daniels did.
“I’m pretty excited,” Daniels said. “I’m ready to get out there and get active.”
His only concern is not having the thumb tested by getting it whacked in practice first before game action. To soften the expected blow, he will wear a bandage with a cushion on his left thumb.
“I still didn’t get it hit,” Daniels added. “I’m quite sure that somebody’s going to hit it today.”
|02.06.10 at 4:57 pm ET|
‘If Marquis dresses, I still don’t know if he’ll play tomorrow,’ Rivers said after practice. ‘I’m not sure.’
While the Celtics ran contact plays during practice, Daniels, who has been out since early December with a thumb injury, did not get as many hits in as Rivers would have liked. Daniels had previously said he was looking forward to getting his first real hit (he just preferred it didn’t come from Kendrick Perkins or Glen Davis).
But if it were up to him, he would be getting back on the court on Sunday.
‘Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be ready to go,’ he said. ‘Whatever minutes I get, I’ll be ready to go out there and perform.’
After practice Daniels tweeted, ‘1st game back 2morro, thumb is feeling pretty good so anxious to play I don’t think y’all understand’
|02.06.10 at 4:35 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Paul Pierce (left foot sprain) practiced on Saturday and expects to play on Sunday against the Magic. Doc Rivers said it will be a game day decision based on the fact that Pierce looked hesitant on live plays, but Pierce says he is ready to go. He categorized his recovery as “not quite one-hundred percent but it’s good enough for me to play.”
“I think it’s my decision,” he said. “[Doc] asked me if I could play tomorrow and I told him yeah. I got out there and did some of the drills we had going on today.”
As for Wednesday’s contest against the Hornets and All-Star Weekend (Pierce is slated to participate in the Three-Point Shootout and All-Star Game), he will determine how much he can play after Sunday’s game. Considering he has been able to walk around on his foot and has not required any extra tape or a boot, he hopes he won’t have to miss anything and still be ready for the upcoming West Coast road trip.
For him, it’s a matter of healing. But he won’t push himself either.
“If things don’t work out, then they’re not going to work out,” he said.
|02.05.10 at 11:38 pm ET|
|02.05.10 at 11:23 pm ET|
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