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Pierce: We’re still capable of winning a championship

04.16.09 at 4:37 pm ET
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WALTHAM – So, the Celtics can move forward knowing that Kevin Garnett, last season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year, won’t be with them on this playoff journey.

But to quote the man himself, “Anything is Possible!!!”

Paul Pierce has been prepping himself for this possibility all along, or at least since Garnett went down for a second time in mid-March with the right knee injury.

“Last 10 to 12 games, if Kevin comes back or if he doesn’t, we have to be mentally prepared for it,” Pierce said. “That’s the way I approached these games coming down to (the end) of the season.”

As a matter of fact, the Celtics finished 16-7 this season in the 23 games without their emotional leader. They even won 10 of 11 without him after losing to Orlando to capture the No. 2 seed in the East.

“You feel bad for a guy who wants to be out there, wants to help his teammates in the playoffs. I know it’s hurting him more than it’s hurting us,” Pierce said.

Pierce believes the team, with shooters like himself, Ray Allen and Eddie House and inside players like Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis are more than capable of picking up enough slack.

“Now the guys know he’s probably not going to play, we have to move forward with what we got,” Pierce said. “Guys have to be ready to step up. That’s about it. We’ve been playing without him for quite a while so we know we’re still a pretty good team and capable of winning a championship.”

As for those who doubt the Celtics have any chance at all of even reaching the NBA Finals to defend their title, Pierce hardly sounded like a man whose feelings have been hurt.

“There’s always going to be doubters,” Pierce said. “That’s something we don’t really worry about. We know what we have in this room and we know what we do when we play well and that’s all that really matters right now. It’s going to be an uphill battle of course not having Kevin but that’s how we like it.”

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