|Daniels feels like Forrest Gump||02.04.10 at 5:32 pm ET|
WALTHAM — When Marquis Daniels eventually returns to game action, he shouldn’t be that much out of breath.
That’s because the most versatile player on the roster has been put through a strict running program to make sure he’s in shape once his surgically repaired left thumb is ready for game action.
“I think they did a good job of running me,” Daniels said. “I’ve turned into Forrest Gump a little bit. I’m glad to be back. It feels like the first day of school, very excited. I’m just ready to get back out there and play and be a part of the team and just feel more wanted out there. Hopefully, I can another good practice in and maybe [play] Sunday.”
And while he wasn’t doing much running on Thursday in practice (see below), he was busy learning new plays that coach Doc Rivers has installed in his 27-game absence.
“He put a couple more sets in, but for the most part it’s pretty much the same thing. I just have to learn three positions, the point guard, the 2 and the 3. It’s coming along pretty simple, so hopefully I can pick them up by next practice.”
That next practice will be Saturday, meaning it’s highly unlikely he plays — or is needed for that matter — against New Jersey on Friday. When he does, he wants to be sure his thumb is ready for a hit. If he can take a hit in practice, he believes he’ll be game-ready.
“Just getting hit,” Daniels said Thursday. “Everything else is pretty much mental. I think my conditioning is OK. It’s not the best, but it’s the best it can be without playing basketball. Other than that, once I get that first hit on it, I think I’ll be OK.”
Rivers spent nearly 30 minutes with Daniels and the second unit at the end of practice as he tries to help Daniels get back to speed in time for a possible weekend return to action.
After several days of shooting and basketball-related drills, Thursday marked Daniels’ first practice back with the team.
Daniels said the biggest hurdle for him will be taking a blow to the thumb, which was wrapped in white protective bandage for his first practice back.
“It wasn’t a great practice for him,” Rivers said. “We didn’t do a lot. We didn’t do really anything live, so it wasn’t a great practice for him. Just trying to get him some rhythm, which is good.”
Rivers added that he doubts Daniels will be ready to play against New Jersey on Friday but more likely set for a Sunday return against Orlando.
|Pierce on injury: ‘It’s not the end of the world’||02.04.10 at 4:22 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Paul Pierce spoke on Thursday for the first time since being diagnosed with a left mid-foot sprain that forced him to miss Wednesday night’s game against Miami and will likely keep him out of action against New Jersey on Friday night.
But the All-Star forward said he has reason to think he might be back by Sunday when the team takes on the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.
“I can walk on it,” Pierce said. “It’s just a basic mid-foot sprain. It’s not the end of the world. I’ve had worse injuries, to tell you the truth. And the good thing about it is I didn’t have to go into a boot. I’m still walking around on it. It’s just about the pain going away. It’s a sprain but it’s not the worst sprain I’ve ever had.”
Pierce said he definitely plans on taking part in the All-Star 3-point shooting contest and is hopeful for the All-Star Game itself on Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium.
[Click here to hear a humble Pierce explain why he's planning on going ahead with the All-Star 3-point contest.]
“The foot is getting better every day,” Pierce added. “I’m just doing the necessary treatments to get back on the court as soon as possible. Going by how it feels. The good thing about it over the last couple of days it’s gotten better every day so I’m just taking it a day at a time until I know it’s right.
“It’s tough but I know at this point in my career and understanding my body, I know the most important thing for me right now is just to get healthy. As a younger player I might have pushed it too much and who knows if I might have made the injury even worse. Right now at this age I have to take care of my body and do what’s right and right now the right thing is to get rest.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Ray to Rondo: ‘This could be your last shot’||02.04.10 at 12:34 am ET|
Ray Allen had a very simple message for his backcourt teammate before Wednesday’s game against Miami.
“I told [Rajon] Rondo earlier, I said this could be his last shot,” Allen said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got 10, 12-plus years left in the NBA, you’re making great money but this could be yours.
“I told him I went to the Eastern Conference finals in Milwaukee and the next year we just assumed we’re going to get back and we didn’t make the playoffs. So, it’s not guaranteed because you did it once or twice. It’s never guaranteed. So, we have to be very selfish about really wanting to be good now and really taking care of our bodies, making sure we hold each other accountable. And doing it in a good way.”
Allen and Rondo have been the focal point this week of trade rumors and locker room chemistry questions. But Allen made it clear following a 107-102 win over the Heat that he wants to go to battle with Rondo and the rest of the Celtics.
“Believe me, there’s not a better group of guys that I think are capable right now,” Allen said. “I’m not looking at our record (31-16), although our record is not too shabby. We have guys here, a roster than can win it.”
[Click here to hear what Allen had to say about wanting to stay with Rondo and his team]
More to the point, Allen sounded like a man who wants desperately to keep the relationships he’s forged over the last three seasons.
“All of these guys in this locker room are my brothers and I’m going to proceed forward that this could be it for all of us and we have to treat this season very specially and know that what comes out of it is what we want to come out of it, and that’s a championship,” he said.
|Doc: At least Rondo’s been listening||02.03.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
Doc Rivers initially thought Rajon Rondo’s comments to Boston Herald reporter Steve Bulpett were blown out of proportion.
But upon further review, the Celtics coach said he would have written what Bulpett wrote. Moreover, he was happy with the fact that Rondo has apparently been listening to the coach’s pleas for better team chemistry and singleness of purpose on and off the court.
Here’s what Rivers had to say about Rondo’s thoughts on team chemistry before Wednesday’s game with Miami.
“I don’t mind that,” Rivers said. “There’s better ways of doing that but I don’t mind that. Even the comments he made, I didn’t mind much at all because, for one, it says at least he’s been listening. And that’s always a good thing.”
|Daniels could return Sunday vs. Orlando||02.03.10 at 8:17 pm ET|
Marquis Daniels confirmed before Wednesday’s game that he will return to practice on Thursday for the first time since having surgery on his left thumb in early December.
Head coach Doc Rivers said he could possibly return on Sunday against Orlando but the more realistic date is next Wednesday in New Orleans against the Hornets. Rivers said he will not rush Daniels back just because Paul Pierce is questionable and day-to-day with a left mid-foot sprain.
|Kobe plays Keyshawn: ‘Give me the damn ball’||01.31.10 at 8:26 pm ET|
Bad left ankle or not, injured right index finger or not, Kobe Bryant channeled Keyshawn Johnson on Sunday and made the Celtics pay in the end.
“I didn’t say, ‘Give me one more chance.’ I said, ‘Give me the damn ball.’ I didn’t really give [my team] much of a choice,” Bryant said of the moments in the huddle before his game-winner with 7.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“All we talked about was the execution of [the play], where I was going to catch the ball. That was the only difference. Throughout the course of the game, I was pretty much a decoy because of all the traps they run, but if I catch it at the top of the floor, it’s a different story.”
Then there are Celtics fans, who had a slightly different perspective — one that had Bryant clearly pushing off of Ray Allen to create space for the game-winner.
“I just tried to create space and get to a spot where I could elevate and knock it down,” Bryant explained.
Speaking of pushing off, Bryant said his left ankle was so sore he couldn’t elevate, leading to this tidy little jab at Allen.
“Oh yeah, I couldn’t push off,” Bryant said. “Ray’s athletic, but my elevator goes to the 12th floor, his stays at the seventh. But I couldn’t get to the 12th floor today, so it was hurting.
“Special for me, personally, because I had opportunity to win the game last year and I didn’t do it. I didn’t get the shot I wanted, so I wanted to make sure I redeemed myself today.”
Mr. Zenmaster himself, Phil Jackson — who tied Pat Riley for all-time wins by a Lakers coach on Sunday with his 733rd — said nothing feels better than putting the game in Bryant’s hands.
“He had a couple of looks before that that were good looks in that area and we were mystified he couldn’t put it in. He told me the next one he got out there he would drop it in and so we went with it,” Jackson said.
|KG still finding his way||01.31.10 at 5:06 pm ET|
BOSTON — It’s pretty obvious Kevin Garnett is not the same player he was two years ago when he was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the centerpiece of Boston’s run to a 17th NBA title.
Surgery to remove bone spurs behind his right knee last summer and a hyperextended right knee suffered late in December has slowed his return to form.
Doc Rivers still believes Garnett can get back to the top defensively — hopefully taking the Celtics along for the ride. More than that, he still expects it.
“I can [expect Garnett back to form], but not right now,” Rivers said conditionally. “But really, none of our guys who have come back, you can’t hold any of them to their normal standards right now. Our biggest issue with our injuries is that they’re healthy but they’re not ready to play basketball at this level yet.
“Paul [Pierce] had his first big game in Atlanta since he’s been back. Kevin is still [getting back]. The key is you still have to play them the minutes. The only way they’re going to get back is by keeping them on the floor and let them get their minutes. The tough part is while you’re doing that, the team struggles a little bit.”
[Click here to hear Doc Rivers talk about Garnett's return.]
Rivers has maintained all along that the Celtics need Garnett back to form late in the spring — when the season truly is on the line. In the meantime, they’ll have to live with the inconsistencies.
“I think he can do it,” Rivers said of Garnett returning to form. “The No. 1 thing is getting them back to that level. I just think it’s more timing. When you look at Kevin, it’s amazing watching him. The Orlando game, his timing was completely off the entire game. Then the Atlanta game, all of sudden he had good timing.
“I just think it’s going to be that way for a while. The guy it’s most frustrating to is him because he’s knows it. The Orlando game at halftime, I thought he was going to beat himself up if he could, because he knew it. He was trying to talk himself into slowing down. I was just telling him, ‘Just play. It is what it is. It’s going to happen for you. You just have to keep playing.’ ”
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