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Just to clarify 04.01.09 at 7:13 pm ET
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At first, Doc Rivers thought he was being asked whether the Celtics can win an 18th title with Kevin Garnett not at full strength.

“Yeah, we can,” Rivers said. “I believe that. Defensively, is where we need him, offensively, too, with his shot and all that and his leadership on the floor. I really believe we can. And I think he will be 100 percent or close to it. I don’t know if he’ll be 100  percent. Yeah, I do, though, that is the answer.”

Then told that the question was can you win without Garnett, PERIOD, that generated a slightly different response.

“No, that would be difficult,” Rivers added. “That would be very difficult. But let’s hope that is something we don’t have to find out.”

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Doc: KG should be ready for playoffs at 6:51 pm ET
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Doc Rivers said before Wednesday’s game with Charlotte that he expects Kevin Garnett to be ready for the playoffs.

Asked if he thought the star wouldn’t be ready for the playoffs after the team shut him down on Tuesday, Rivers said he doesn’t expect his right knee injury to keep him from the postseason.

“I think he absolutely will,” Rivers said of Garnett playing in the playoffs. “Obviously, there’s always a chance but I don’t see that, I really don’t. I would be very, very surprised if Kevin Garnett is not playing in game 1 of the playoffs.”

More to come.

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KG concern: He’s the center of everything 03.31.09 at 2:52 pm ET
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He hasn’t been that big a player since coming to the Celtics in February but Mikki Moore spoke volumes on Tuesday when he spoke about the news that the team is shutting down Kevin Garnett for the time being with continuing right knee soreness.

“It’s a big adjustment,” said Moore, who will pick up the slack along with Glen Davis. “He’s the center of everything. He’s the vocal point of our defense and he enthuses guys to come out and play hard. We’re going to miss his presence out on the floor but he’s always in the locker room or on the sideline out there talking to us. We’ll be alright.”

Coach Doc Rivers is hopeful that Moore, Davis and Bill Walker can step into line of fire and help while KG gets his rest.

“He’s been terrific,” Rivers said of Davis. “Mikki has a big game the other night as well. Maybe that’s the silver lining, that Mikki and Big Baby are playing more. Steph is getting more minutes due to the fact that we just don’t have enough bodies and Billy Walker is playing more so maybe that is a silver lining.”

As for others who just became more important, Rivers knows the burden falls to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

“We’re not going to play them more minutes but clearly there’s more pressure on them,” Rivers said. “I understand that. That may be a reason to cut their minutes a little bit as well. Bottom line is we’re going to be healthy when playoffs start and we’re going to do whatever we can to have the legs.”

Then there were the following words from Kendrick Perkins.

“We have to do it as a team,” Perkins said. “For sure, I have to do a better job of communicating on the floor and talking the defense out.”

Perkins can read the writing on the wall about the team’s chances if KG isn’t fully recovered.

“There’s always concern,” Perkins said. “A guy that has a month off from rest, comes back and he’s still not fully recovered. It’s still kind of scary. But then again, you’re dealing with a warrior, so he’ll find a way to get back.

“When he was out there, he wasn’t 100 percent, you could tell. The biggest thing is, we’ve got two-to-three weeks before the playoffs and we just want Kevin to be healthy, get treatment, messages and go from there,” Perkins added.

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Celtics shut down Kevin Garnett at 1:14 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett will be shut down for the foreseeable future, Doc Rivers told reporters following today’s Celtics practice.

Garnett missed 13 games with what the team called a right knee strain, during which time the Celtics went 7-6 and fell out of the race with Cleveland for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. He returned on March 20 to help the Celtics win three straight, but played limited minutes, and was held out of their games with Atlanta and Oklahoma City.

On Sunday, Doc Rivers said it was likely Garnett would miss tomorrow’s game with Charlotte but might be able to go on Friday against the Hawks. Today’s development changes that, obviously, and for the time being it appears that the Celtics do not have a timetable for his return.

Garnett’s absence, coupled with that of Leon Powe, has left the Celtics with just three healthy big men–Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Mikki Moore–and with Powe not scheduled to return until the end of the regular season at the earliest, the C’s are in a bind as they prepare for the playoffs. Rookie Bill Walker has seen his minutes increase slightly and was on the floor in a smallish lineup against the Thunder that had him essentially playing the big forward spot.

Rivers noted a few weeks ago that the team’s priorities were getting healthy and staying in front of Orlando for the second seed, and definitely in that order. The team’s decision to shelve KG confirms that line of thinking.

With seven games left in the regular season the Celtics are locked into either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed (they could technically still overtake Cleveland but it’s highly doubtful), and they appear rather unconcerned about the possibility of falling behind the Magic.

With little or no incentive to grind out the rest of the regular season, the move makes sense, but at issue for Rivers and the team is figuring out roles and the rotation for the playoffs, something that has been impossible to sort through while the Celtics battle through injuries to four key players.

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No NCAA Tourney Regrets for Perkins at 8:00 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins Clifton J. Ozen High SchoolKendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett are the only members of the Boston Celtics to go straight from high school to the NBA. Of their teammates who chose the NCAA, nearly all of them experienced March Madness.

Even though Perkins made an early jump to the pros, the 2003 Clifton J. Ozen High School graduate still gets caught up in the excitement of the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s fun because I’ve been watching a lot of games,” he said. “It’s been very interesting just watching all the buzzer beaters, teams getting upset.”

So while Paul Pierce watched Kansas try to defend its NCAA title and Ray Allen basked in the glory of UConn’s Final Fourth berth, does Perkins ever wish he was part of that?

“No,” he said without hesitation. “I don’t think anything substitutes for being in the NBA. It’s like, I’ve never known what it’s like to be in college so I never have any regrets or anything like that.”

It’s easier for Perkins to have no regrets when he can place his world championship ring next to his high school diploma.

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A Friday return for Kevin Garnett? 03.29.09 at 7:08 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett was not in the lineup for the second straight game, and he’s probably out for Wednesday’s game against Charlotte, as well. “It depends on how he moves in practice,” said Doc Rivers who added that it was “likely” that Garnett would return Friday when the Celtics host Atlanta.

Rivers also said they haven’t discussed how his minutes would go when he does return, but that the coach was looking for, “better movement (and) less soreness,” from Garnett. “I go by his gait,” Rivers said. “It’s not hard, really. Just watch him run.”

Big Baby Davis started in Garnett’s place against the Thunder and the Celtics will once again go with three big men–Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore.

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Garnett not in starting lineup 03.27.09 at 7:45 pm ET
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The Celtics took the floor against the Hawks Friday night without Kevin Garnett. The All-Star forward had played four games in his return in limited minutes, but he has experienced soreness in his knee and the Celtics elected to shut him down. Celtics GM Danny Ainge told weei.com’s Jeff Goodman earlier Friday that they would evaluate Garnett’s role for the rest of the regular season next week.

Glen Big Baby Davis started in Garnett’s spot.

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