Paul Pierce is not counting on Kevin Garnett for the Miami Heat showdown
|03.17.13 at 10:35 am ET|
To Paul Pierce, Saturday night was good preparation for playing without Kevin Garnett. And the way the Celtics captain looks at it, he’s not expecting Garnett back on Monday when the competition gets tougher – a lot tougher.
“It was like, we just gotta step up and get the win,” Pierce said. “KG had another game where he didn’t play, we played quite well, everybody stepped up. That was my reaction [Saturday] morning when I found out he wasn’t playing.
“Right now, we don’t expect him to be back. Right now, that’s the mindset we have to take. If he’s back, that’s just an added bonus for us to play Miami. So, right now, as of today, we have to get in our minds that this is the team that will [play] against Miami and we have to get ready to play.”
The last time they played the Heat, they found out they were losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn ACL. They went out and beat LeBron James and the Heat in double-overtime. They then lost Jared Sullinger a week later.
Pierce says the Celtics have the kind of team that can handle adversity because of the leadership at the top, starting with coach Doc Rivers.
“That comes from the top, coaches and trickles down through the veteran players, just to ensure everybody is focused and understanding that regardless what kind of adversity we go through, we still have to go out there and we have a job to do,” Pierce said. “Go to practice every day and help us win as many basketball games as we can.”
Rivers summed up Garnett’s availability for Monday this way: “If he’s healthy, he’ll play. If he’s not, he won’t.”