|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.”
So with captain Paul Pierce again left to be the man to keep things together, that’s exactly what he did in a fashion so routine, it was a thing of beauty to his coach.
Pierce was as efficient as ever, scoring 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just 23 minutes, adding eight assists and six rebounds in a 115-88 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.
‘He’s always been underrated,” Doc Rivers said. “I think he’s been underrated his whole career. I underrated him. When I coached in Orlando every time he scored I mean, I was so upset because I thought this slow, non-athletic guy, you look at him, you think. ‘How the hell was he scoring on you?’ And then when you coach him you realize he’s not slow, he plays at a slow pace. He’s athletic as heck, he’s stronger than most small forwards in the league, and he just surprises you with his fundamentals. You know he’s so fundamentally sound he actually looks un-athletic. And it’s a heck of a compliment to a player.
“He just plays to what he feels. He’s a professional scorer, he really is. He just knows how to play basketball. I think every young kid should watch him play because he can do it above the rim but he chooses not to. He’s just so fundamentally sound with his footwork, it’s just really nice to watch.
“I think he’s going to be able to play for a long time if he wants to. He can get his shot off. He plays at a great pace.”
Pierce led all five starters in double figures, as the Celtics proved picking up the slack for Garnett was truly a team effort. He pointed to a play Pierce ran several times in the first half that had different teammates involved.
“Yeah, we ran a play that just kind of matured into that,” Rivers said. “First time he came off I think he got Brandon (Bass), the second time he got the picker, then he just ‘ the same play just kept building and building. I love ‘ we call it ‘feed the pig’.”
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Green Night: With no Kevin Garnett, C’s find a way to blow out Bobcats||03.16.13 at 9:50 pm ET|
With Kevin Garnett sitting out with a strained adductor (groin) in his left leg, all five starters managed to score in double figures as the Celtics exacted revenge on the Charlotte Bobcats with a 105-88 laugher Saturday night at TD Garden. The Celtics avenged their 100-74 loss on Tuesday night in Charlotte, when Doc Rivers gave Paul Pierce the night off.
On Saturday night, Pierce scored a very efficient 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field, adding eight assists and six rebounds as the Celtics pulled away in the second half for the blowout win, their 11th straight at home. The Celtics improved to 36-29 while the Bobcats fell to a league-worst 14-52, with two of those 14 coming against Boston. Gerald Henderson, who had a career-high 35 points in Tuesday’s game, finished with just 16.
The Celtics hit 10-of-14 from three-point range, led by a perfect 3-for-3 from Jason Terry, who finished with a team-leading 15 points. Avery Bradley had 13 while Jeff Green, starting for Garnett, had 10 on 5-of-9 shooting. The Celtics, out-rebounded 48-29 in Tuesday’s loss, picked it up on the glass, beating Charlotte on the boards 42-35.
Leading 40-39 late in the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 10-4 spurt to close the half, as Pierce scored the final six points of the run.
The Celtics went up nine points in the first half and early third quarter, only to have the Bobcats respond. But leading 59-53, Green converted a layup that started a 16-4 run that put the game away. The Celtics led 83-66 heading into the fourth.
The Celtics scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, capped off by slam dunks from Chris Wilcox and Shav Randolph as the Celtics led, 92-66. The Bobcats made things somewhat interesting with a three-point barrage as part of a 20-7 run that cut the lead to 13 with 3:35 left.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Kevin Garnett out with left adductor strain||at 7:05 pm ET|
“He wasn’t moving well in practice [Friday],” Rivers said in announcing his absence from the lineup Saturday night. Rivers did not immediately announce the nature of the injury, deferring to head trainer Ed Lacerte.
Lacerte and the Celtics later officially announced the diagnosis of adductor (groin) strain in his left leg.
Jeff Green, as he did for Paul Pierce on Tuesday in Charlotte, takes Garnett’s place in the lineup. The Celtics will go very small in the lineup, with Brandon Bass representing their biggest player among the starting five.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett: ‘They’re old as hell’||03.15.13 at 5:38 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers knows the Bobcats have had the number of the last two times they’ve met, including a 26-point blowout on Tuesday night in Charlotte.
So don’t expect the Celtics to look beyond the lowly Bobcats on Saturday night in advance of their showdown with the Heat Monday night at TD Garden.
“No matter what our excuses are, they beat us two games,” Rivers said. “One game they beat us soundly and one game we kinda sputtered down the stretch. And no matter what you say to them, they’ve beat us twice. They are going to have great confidence against us. When you beat a team, they don’t care about the excuses, they know they beat you and that makes them a better team the next time they play you. When they beat you again, that makes them even a better team the next time you play them. So [Saturday] they are going to play great, and we have to expect that and we have to try to beat them playing great.”
The two players expected to lead the Celtics Saturday night in their revenge match are Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who have been the talk of the town this week after both reached scoring milestones on Wednesday and Garnett explained afterward how close the two were growing up.
Why is this story so special?
“That’s only because they’re old as hell,” Rivers answered with hearty laugh. “The only way you can reach those milestones together is you have to hang around a lonnnnng time. It is cool. I was joking but it does seem like every night one of those two does pass some kind of record. I think now we create some sort of new record to pass but it is awesome. They have that picture together, it’s a neat picture when they were 15.”
Meanwhile, Rivers was asked about how Rajon Rondo might fit into Celtics plans down the road and if he’s thought of changing his offense when Rondo is ready to return at the start of next season. Rivers said he’ll let Celtics GM Danny Ainge worry about most of that.
“I don’t think about it much,” Rivers said. “Again, you know how I am, when guys go down, there’s nothing we can do about it. I have given next year zero thought, I’m hoping Danny will do a better job of that than me — that’s his job. But I don’t think about that much at all.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen’ defense like Avery Bradley’s||03.14.13 at 12:04 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to discuss Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s scoring milestones, the Heat’s winning streak and other NBA topics.
“It’s really cool when you hear names like Jerry West,” Rivers said. “Kevin Garnett just passed the NBA logo, and Paul passes Charles Barkley. So when you hear names like that, you know how lucky you are as a coach that you’re coaching guys like that.”
After Garnett’s milestone, he received a thunderous ovation from the TD Garden crowd, and he acknowledged the reception for a few moments. While that might not be a typical thing for Garnett to do, Rivers said that the future Hall-of-Famer is realizing just how close his career is to being over.
“I do think over this year especially, I think he understands that he has how many years left, and we don’t know that,” Rivers said. “But I do think he’s starting to acknowledge a lot of that and appreciate it, and soak it in, and I’m happy he’s doing that.”
The C’s victory Wednesday came after perhaps their worst loss of the season Tuesday. They fell on the road to the lowly Bobcats, 100-74, albeit without Pierce. Similar to how Rivers gave Garnett a game off recently, he decided to do the same with the captain Tuessday.
“Paul was banged up a little bit in the Oklahoma game,” Rivers said. “I thought just the Oklahoma travel, that was a very difficult trip. When you travel basically four hours, get off a plane and play the next day at 12 noon. … That was a difficult game for us.
“You’re thinking about two things. You want to win every game now. But you also want to be fresh and right when the playoffs start. To do that, with Kevin especially, and then maybe Paul, and even JET [Jason Terry], we have to consider doing it.”
|Greatest Kevin Garnett postgame interview ever?||at 12:09 am ET|
After passing Jerry West for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and watching Paul Pierce eschew Charles Barkley in 20th, Kevin Garnett offered a rare glimpse inside the personal relationship of the latest Celtics greats.
“Paul and I have history, and it’s only right that we come in here and we make history together,” said Garnett. “At 13, 14, we were tearing up his mom’s living room, breaking vases, almost getting our asses whooped. I was with Paul the first time I ever experienced Crenshaw on a Sunday. For y’all who don’t know about Crenshaw on a Sunday, Crenshaw on a Sunday is a big deal. He was taking me out, and we were being 15, 16 years old.”
It might sound like something out of a sitcom, but the soliloquy Garnett delivered after the C’s 112-88 destruction of the Raptors was nothing but pure, honest truth. When Garnett joined Pierce’s AAU team in high school, he stayed with the Celtics captain and his mother in Inglewood, Calif. The rest is literally history.
“Being able to follow our dream at McDonald’s, having some duration together, trying to go to the same school, obviously going different paths, and then finally meeting up here in Boston, winning the championship, doing the things we’ve been doing since we’ve been here — 20,000 points, now we’re surpassing people that we grew up mimicking and obviously idolizing — it’s special,” added Garnett. “It’s special to do with a personal friend. You know what I mean? Not just a teammate, but a real friend. Someone who knows you, knows your family, knows who you are, where you come from and vice versa. Knows the things that motivate you and push you.
“I always tell people that I’ve got the greatest seat in the house to watch one of the best players in NBA history put the ball in the basket every night, and it’s special to be able to do it with him.”
Let’s just say the feeling is mutual.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason