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Paul Pierce doesn’t see Brittney Griner making NBA 04.09.13 at 2:59 pm ET
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While Mavericks owner Mark Cuban claimed he might select Baylor women’s basketball sensation Brittney Griner in the second round of this June’s NBA draft and Heat wing Shane Battier suggested a woman will make the league in his lifetime, Celtics captain Paul Pierce doesn’t foresee either scenario playing out anytime soon.

“I think it will be a little difficult, just because of the physicality of the sport,” said Pierce, who has watched the many highlights of Griner. “The men are much faster, much stronger and much more athletic. Will it happen one day? I don’t know. They have a women’s league, where they are the best women in the world. Honestly, I can’t tell you if I can see a woman right now playing in the NBA. Not in the next couple of years. No.”

The 6-foot-8 senior set NCAA women’s career records for dunks and blocks, won the national title as a junior and claimed her second straight Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year trophy this season.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban told reporters before a game last week.

Added Battier: “There’s no doubt that in our lifetime, there will be a woman NBA player.”

As usual, Celtics coach Doc Rivers did a better dancing around the issue than anyone.

“If I find a green man walking down the street and I think he can rebound, I’m going to draft him,” he told reporters prior to Friday’s loss to the Cavaliers. “So, I don’t think anyone cares. Obviously, it would make a huge story and it would be really cool. I just don’t know the answer. I don’t watch it enough to know, but it would be great.”

Perhaps Pierce and Griner should play a game of 1-on-1 to settle this NBA debate once and for all.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brittney Griner, Mark Cuban, NBA
Kevin Garnett: ‘I know what I have in there – I know who’s willing to fight’ 04.08.13 at 12:02 am ET
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Kevin Garnett got his opportunity to shake off the rust Sunday night in his return to the Celtics lineup. (AP)

Kevin Garnett got his opportunity to shake off the rust Sunday night in his return to the Celtics lineup. (AP)

Kevin Garnett knew coach Doc Rivers and trainer Ed Lacerte would be watching his every move Sunday night.

Playing for the first time since inflammation and bone spurs in the left foot caused him to sit out eight games, Garnett paced himself and scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes as the Celtics beat the Washington Wizards, 107-96, at TD Garden.

“I felt okay,” Garnett said of playing for the first time since March 22 in Dallas. “I felt strong enough to play. I felt decent in my minutes and I picked and choosed when I was aggressive. I did the things I typically do. That was it. I told Ed that if I felt like I couldn’t go that I wouldn’t push myself but Doc has a lot of trust in what I’m doing. We were on the same page so so far so good.”

Rivers said the situation, as it turned out, was ideal for Garnett’s return – that is, 24 minutes in a low pressure environment.

“I thought he was really good, really good,” Rivers said. “And I thought his rhythm was good early. I was surprised how well he was running; I noticed that [Saturday] in practice. We did all fast-break stuff and I was just doing it for him, just so he could blow his lungs out, and I was surprised how well he was running. So that was good. And I don’t know what we played him – 24 minutes – that’s, I mean, you couldn’t script that. That was perfect. Actually I wanted 20, but 25 was what I didn’t want to go.”

Garnett was 6-of-9 from the field and was able to defend well, posting a plus-8 while on the court. While Paul Pierce was busy pointing out how important Garnett’s presence is to Boston’s postseason hopes, Garnett was focused instead on the way the rest of his team is playing.

“It doesn’t matter what line-up goes or who’s on the floor as long as we’re playing the right way,” Garnett said. “That’s all my concern is. Just making sure that we’re sharing the ball, playing as a team, giving up for each other, playing defensively, being one voice, one sound – those are the things that are most important.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett: ‘We’re not going anywhere without Kevin’s presence’ 04.07.13 at 10:16 pm ET
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Paul Pierce knows the value of Kevin Garnett – or more to the point – a healthy Kevin Garnett.

Pierce said the Celtics are going nowhere without Garnett at full strength going into the playoffs. Garnett scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes in his first game back since injuring the ankle on March 22.

“I feel good because I know when we’re all out there and we’re on, we’re as tough as anybody in the East to beat, especially with Kevin’s presence,” Pierce said after Garnett scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes.

“We’re not going anywhere without Kevin’s presence, just being honest with you. He’s a big part of what we try to do out there on offense and defense. We play through him a lot. He anchors the defense. It’s going to be important for him in these last few of games to get his legs back and get going.”

Pierce said it’s important for the Celtics to be playing their best ball going into the playoffs, pointing specifically to Brandon Bass, who led Boston with 20 points Sunday night.

“Its good to be playing the best basketball at the right time, and right now is the right time going into the playoffs for some guys to get their confidence going and start having some big games,” Pierce said. “That’s going to be huge for us if he continues to play well going into the playoffs, and the great thing about it is he’s doing it all off of the hustle plays and off of ball movement. When you can do things like that without a play being called for you…that’s beautiful.

“It was good. Kevin healthy finally, im coming along…so were gonna need these next few games to really prepare for the upcoming playoffs no matter who we play, and right now is the time for us to start hitting our stride.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Return men: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett return as Celtics beat Wizards at 8:23 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett returned for the first time in nine games and helped lead the Celtics to a win over the Wizards. (AP)

Kevin Garnett returned for the first time in nine games and helped lead the Celtics to a win over the Wizards. (AP)

Paul Pierce scored 15 and Kevin Garnett added 10 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes as the Celtics beat the Wizards, 107-96, Sunday night at TD Garden. The Celtics were 3-5 in the eight games Garnett missed with inflammation and bone spurs in the left ankle.

Pierce missed only Friday’s game with a sore right ankle, as the Celtics recovered from Friday’s embarrassing 97-91 loss to the Cavaliers, a game that snapped Cleveland’s 10-game losing streak.

Not only did the Celtics (40-37) get their two star regulars back from foot injuries, Boston took a step closer toward clinching the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference as they lead the Bucks by two games in the loss column with five games left to play.

Chris Wilcox had a big first half off the Boston bench, scoring eight points and helping the Celtics to a 56-52 halftime lead. Wilcox finished 5-of-6 from the field and led all Boston bench scorers with 13 points.

Leading the way was forward Brandon Bass with 20 points as the Celtics outscored the Wizards, 31-19, in the third quarter and built an 18-point lead.

Bass shot 9-of-12 from the field and played a team-high 36 minutes to lead the Celtics, who watched as the Wizards closed the lead down to 10 with three minutes remaining but could get no closer.

Boston is off Monday and Tuesday before finishing their four-game homestand on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.

For more from Mike Petraglia from the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA, Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce back at practice, Avery Bradley (collarbone) sits 04.06.13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Just over 12 hours after a humbling loss to the Cavaliers at the Garden, the Celtics got a boost at practice in Waltham when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returned from separate foot injuries.

Garnett has missed the last eight games due to inflammation from bone spurs in his left ankle. The Celtics have gone 3-5 in his absence as they look to lock up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

“I’ve never come into postseason 100 percent, so it’s nothing new,” Garnett told reporters. “But I do want a rhythm. I don’t want to go into the postseason and have no rhythm. I want to be healthy. That’s my first priority.”

Garnett said when and how much he plays in the final six games will be decided after a discussion that includes himself, coach Doc Rivers and medical staff.

“I’m going to practice today and Doc and I will have a conversation and make some decisions for the future.”

Avery Bradley, however, did not take part, as he was still nursing soreness from taking an elbow to his left collarbone from Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game.

Rivers told reporters before Saturday’s practice that he anticipates Bradley would be available for Sunday’s game against Washington but would not predict anything further, adding, “you just never know.”

Pierce missed Friday’s game due to soreness and swelling in his right ankle, which first cropped up in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the Knicks in New York, when he was spotted with a wrap on the ankle.

Pierce missed Monday’s game in Minnesota due to the birth of his first son, Prince Paul Pierce before returning on Wednesday in a win over Detroit. Pierce was held out of Friday’s game by Rivers on the advice of trainer Ed Lacerte.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Ed Lacerte
Will Shav Randolph be a playoff factor for Celtics? at 11:10 am ET
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With injury comes opportunity. It’s one of the oldest cliches in sports.

It’s also an interesting thought when considering the options in front of Doc Rivers as he tries to ready his Celtics for another playoff run.

Has the play of someone like unheralded power forward Shavlik Randolph opened Rivers’ eyes and those of the coaching staff enough to warrant serious consideration in the playoff rotation?

After a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds, providing the only real energy off the bench in Friday’s loss to Cleveland, Rivers was asked where Randolph fits in during the playoffs, when benches are shortened and playing time is at a premium.

“I don’t know,” Rivers said. “He’s playing great. Just leave it at that; he’s just playing great basketball and we’re going to keep playing him.”

“I was just rolling to the basket and guys were finding me,” Randolph said. “It’s simple as that, I was getting good passes. Putting me in positions where I could finish around the rim. I wasn’t really making any tough shots. My teammates were finding me.”

On the surface, that sounds like the coach is hedging his bets on whether there will be any time at all for the Duke product, considering if Kevin Garnett is healthy, Wilcox heads back to the bench and Rivers already has Brandon Bass already starting on the front court.

In eight games without Garnett, Randolph has averaged just over five points and 4.5 rebounds while playing about 13 minutes per game.

“Well, it’s the mindset I’ve had probably for the past six or seven games,” Randolph said. “I know I’m going to get in there at some point. I just have to play as high energy as possible, you know come in with that second unit and make sure that the energy doesn’t drop off from the starting unit. You know that’s what I’ve tried to do since I got here.”

He certainly didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on calls Friday night, when he fouled out with six minutes left.

“You know, just try to keep my composure,” he said. “In a game you’re not always going to agree with the calls, that’s just the nature of the game. You just got to keep playing. If you foul out, then you just try to cheer your teammates on. You know, that’s what I tried to do.”

Does he think he’s shown enough on and off the court to warrant serious playing time in the playoffs?

“That’s a great question. All I know, is I’ll be ready, regardless. I’ll be ready to go in, regardless of what my role might be.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Duke
Doc Rivers: ‘Of course’ Celtics want to avoid Heat in playoffs.. ‘I’m not that dumb’ at 1:39 am ET
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Not that there was much of a doubt to begin with but Doc Rivers made it very clear after Friday’s 97-91 loss to the Cavaliers (which snapped Cleveland’s 10-game losing streak) that he wants no part of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Thanks to the Bucks loss in New York to the Knicks Friday night, the Celtics (39-37) are two games up in the loss column on Milwaukee for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with just six games left.

Does he pay attention to the standings?

“I do but I don’t,” Rivers said in his best hedging language. “I really don’t. I know we’re in the seventh spot. I know we want to stay out of the eighth spot.

So, Rivers is actually admitting he wants avoid the Heat?

“Of course we would,” Rivers admitted when asked that very question. “But if we play them, we’ll be ready. But of course we would. Listen, I’m not that dumb. I’m not the brightest guy but come on. Really, you would love to avoid anyone [like Miami]. Listen, no matter who we play, we’re going to play a tough team. It’s going to be New York, Indiana or Miami. There’s no cakewalk for us. It’s going to be hard.”

To Rivers point, the Celtics are 1-3 this year against New York, 1-2 against Miami and 2-0 against Indiana. The Celtics play the Heat next weekend in Miami and the Pacers at the Garden on April 16.

Rivers was asked if he’s going out of his way to avoid playing his stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to get them as physically ready for the playoffs as possible. But Rivers said trainer Ed Lacerte took that decision out of his hands just before Friday’s game.

“No, I wanted Paul to play [against Cleveland] but he couldn’t, honestly,” Rivers said. “I would’ve played him if he could have. But right [before game] when Eddie said Paul’s [ankle] was swollen, that was an easy decision.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted after Friday night’s 97-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden that he is watching the standings and wants to avoid finishing eighth in the Eastern conference and a first round match up with the defending world champion Miami Heat. Rivers however stressed that whoever the Celtics face if it’s the Indiana Pacers or New York Knicks, it will be a tough matchup.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Indiana Pacers, LeBron James
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