|Pierce: We’re still capable of winning a championship||04.16.09 at 4:37 pm ET|
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.”
|Scal could return by Game 3||at 2:28 pm ET|
WALTHAM – While the news on Kevin Garnett was gloomy on Thursday afternoon, there was one ray of hope as Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there’s a 50-50 chance Brian Scalabrine could return by Game 3 of the series with Chicago.
“Scal is a positive sign,” Rivers said. “He gets to do 2-on-2 (drills) and things like that today. He’s definitely out for the first two games. There’s a 50 percent chance that he can play by Game 3 but that’s if everything goes perfect.”
Scalabrine suffered a pair of concussions days apart in late February and hasn’t played since while recovering from post-concussion syndrome. He missed the final 24 games of the regular season.
|Rivers at practice: There’s just no way||at 1:50 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Furthering his comments made first to WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before his team’s practice today that Kevin Garnett is all but out for the playoffs.
“It’s not official if he’s out for the entire playoffs but it’s official as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said. “He looked better last week than he did today. I was convinced there wasn’t going to be a minute limitation but there’s no way, just no way.”
|KG needs bone spur surgery||at 1:46 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Once Kevin Garnett’s season does come to an end, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the star will need surgery on a bone spur in his right knee that is not related to the knee injury suffered on Feb. 19 in Utah.
“We knew he needed (surgery) before that injury ever happened,” Rivers said. Rivers also said that Garnett has been asked by the team to be on the bench during the playoffs for emotional support. Garnett was at the practice facility but did not speak about his injury.
|House call||04.15.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
The three-point sharpshooter needed to get red-hot in the fourth and final quarter of the regular season to break Danny Ainge’s single-season three-point percentage mark.
With his three-pointer with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, House broke Danny Ainge’s single-season record for three-point shooting percentage in a season with a .444 percentage.
The amazing part is that he was just 1-for-3 through three quarters and needed to catch fire. He went 5-for-6 in the final 12 minutes.
“I did the math on the way,” House recalled. “I was thinking 3-for-3 ties it, 4-for-5 I’ll have it, 5-for-6 I’ll have it. When I was 4-for-7, I was like I’ve got to make two more, out of two, and did it. It was good. Then I asked Mr. Twiss on the sideline, ‘Where am I at?’ And he said, ‘Don’t shoot any more!'”
House came out to a wild celebration just over a minute later. Teammates were congratulating him.
In 1986-87, Ainge drilled 85 of his 192 attempts from beyond the arc, for a .443 percentage. House finished this season 151-for-340 from three-point range.
“That’s what means the most to me, that I had the Celtics uniform on,” House said. “If I set it for the Bobcats or the Clippers, it wouldn’t be that big a deal to me. But to do it here, with all the history and everybody who has come through here, Larry, D.A., all the great players, even Ray (Allen), for my name to be at the top of that list, feels good.”
In an ironic twist, Ainge was at home watching his record fall as he was down with the flu.
But it was Celtics coach Doc Rivers who may have made the biggest sacrifice of the night by giving House a chance at history.
“I was thinking there, if I let Danny keep the record, then I get another two or three-year extension,” Rivers said, tongue firmly in cheek. “And I let Eddie get it, then I might be gone. But I took the gamble. I let Eddie get it.”
|Doc on KG: He’ll play||at 9:45 pm ET|
“Our resolve has stuck out to me,” Rivers said. “Thirteen or 14 games ago, when we lost in Orlando, I couldn’t read a paper or go online or see on TV that we’re seeing we’re the third seed.
“Everybody just assumed that’s where we would be and we’re the second seed. “We went through that stretch without Kevin and Leon (Powe) and Tony (Allen) and (Brian Scalabrine) and we won games. We won 10 out of 11 to get it. I thought that said a helluva lot about our team,” Rivers added.
Of course, he would love to have No. 5 at the 4-spot come the opening of the playoffs this weekend at TD Banknorth Garden.
And of course, with Garnett expected to return to practice on Thursday in Waltham, most questions Wednesday night had to do with a certain sore right knee.
“It probably won’t be 100 percent but his intensity will be 100 percent and that’s so important to our team,” Rivers said of Garnett. “He has so much to give our basketball team when he’s on the floor and we feed off that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Pierce, Ray get the night off||at 8:58 pm ET|
Pierce was officially designated “inactive” while Ray Allen was active as each team is only allowed to deactivate three players a game. Allen was also in a suit next to Pierce on the bench.
Rivers added that Rajon Rondo will start the game but play only limited minutes, “definitely the first (quarter) and maybe the third (quarter)” as the team gets ready to take on either Philadelphia or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.
Rivers threw out a starting lineup of Rondo, Marbury, Perkins, Powe and Tony Allen, who started at the three spot.