The rundown (a quick look at the pregame headlines)
He's only been a Celtic for six days, but Nate Robinson has already got the company lines down.
Formally introduced to the media Tuesday after being traded to Boston in a five-player swap at the NBA trade deadline Thursday, Robinson said it didn't matter how many minutes he received he's here to help Boston raise banner 18.
Robinson and Marcus Landry, acquired from the New York Knicks in exchange for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker, both beamed with excitement coming to a playoff-bound squad after enduring the struggles in New York.
"This is a great opportunity for both of us, being a part of a great, historic team, with a lot of pride and lot of history," said Robinson. "It’s overwhelming, being a part of a franchise that’s accustomed to winning. That’s something we’re trying to bring to this team -- more victories, a lot of hustle, a lot of team ball."
Landry, a rookie forward, stressed that he's thrilled with the opportunity to play under veterans, most notably Ray Allen.
"Obviously, this means a whole lot to me, being able to play with guys I've looked up to and watched my whole life, like Ray Allen. I grew up in Milwaukee and watched him my whole life, now playing with him, it's a great opportunity," said Landry, a University of Wisconsin product. "Being able to make the playoffs as a rookie, but not only that, more importantly, getting to learn from a lot of guys that have been successful in this league. It's a great opportunity."
How does Robinson feel about playing the Knicks, the team he spent his first four-plus seasons in the league with, as his Celtics' debut?
"Well first and foremost, they gave me my first opportunity to showcase my talent and be a part of the NBA," said Robinson. "They gave me my first chance, so I’m always going to respect the organization and everything they did for me. It's going to be different, now I’m going to be wearing green, and I'm used to wearing orange and blue. It’s a great opportunity -- it’s a great opportunity for [Robinson and Landry]. We get to learn from some of the NBA greats right now. You just gotta take it one game at a time, go out there and play the game that I know how to play, and just learn, keep it going and keep moving forward."
Other highlights from the introduction (which featured Robinson offering all but one response):
* Robinson first heard of a potential trade through his agent right after the dunk contest at All-Star weekend
* Robinson on parting with the Knicks: "I’m happy, there’s a big smile on my face, and I’m ready to play ball."
* Robinson on his one-month absence after trade demand: "A guy like myself sitting for a whole month, I believe Doc [Rivers] and the Celtics were saying well if he’s sitting, we could use him."
* Robinson on his perception as strictly a dunker: "Of course I’m known for dunking, winning the dunk contest three times, but that’s not all Nate Robinson, if you follow the way I play the game, I play hard, I play as a teammate, I get the crowd involved, I feed off the energy f the crowd and my teammates, I play for the love of the game. Its not that I just dunk, because in the games, I barely dunk. I do a lot of other things that people overlook and over see because they just watch me once a year in the dunk contest. There’s more to Nate Robinson than just that."
Pierce sidelined indefinitely, Marquis to start
Marquis Daniels will start in place of Pierce, who struggled mightily after spraining his right thumb during the first half of a win over the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night. Pierce suggested Monday that he'd talk to Rivers about shutting himself down for a few days to allow the hand to heal.
"He just hurt his hand, we'll go one day at a time," said Rivers. "He's not even in the building tonight -- he's got the flu, too. He wouldn't have played with the hand injury, but with the flu, we felt it was good to stay at home."
Rivers reiterated Pierce's stance that he's "day-to-day," but also acknowledged that, if Pierce needs an extended break to get back to full strength, the Celtics are prepared for that.
"Oh yeah, I'm comfortable with any of our guys being out, I've gotten used to it," joked Rivers. "It's not what you want, but, listen, we went 3-1 [on a four-game road trip] without Paul virtually giving us much of anything because of his health. We can win without him, we just can't win a long time without him. We need him back and we need him healthy. He's our best offensive player. He creates stuff for everyone, even when he's not scoring. His presence on the floor draws attention. We need him back and we need him back healthy.
"The way we did it didn't work out, so we have to get him healthy."
Locker room shuffle
It's always interesting to see which lockers new players choose when they join a locker room midseason. Some teams, like the New England Patriots, make that decision for you as their lockers are typically aligned sequentially (though that's sometimes deviated).
Robinson chose the locker stall previously occupied by rookie Lester Hudson, a stall in what would essentially be the northwest corner of the locker room (viewing it straight on), sandwiched in between Glen Davis and Ray Allen. It seems appropriate that Robinson, who grew up in Seattle, would want to be near Allen, who starred for the Sonics (Allen suggested last week that he even played with Robinson when the two crossed paths on the campus of the University of Washington).
Not only did Landry take over Bill Walker's No. 12 jersey, he took his locker stall as well (smack dab in the middle of the room), between Rajon Rondo and a now unoccupied stall where J.R. Giddens once resided.
Ironically, with the stalls of Giddens and Eddie House now empty, Pierce doesn't have any company around him. That could be a potentially selling point if/when the Celtics attempt to lure a free agent for a stretch run.
Pregame: Greetings from the Garden
Greetings from the TD Garden, where the pregame activity might overshadow the game itself. Before the Celtics (35-19) and Knicks (19-36) clash in a not-so-important Atlantic Division battle, Boston will introduce Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry (above before the team's pregame walkthrough) to the media. What's more, Eddie House, Bill Walker, and J.R. Giddens -- the three players traded to New York in last week's five-player deadline swap -- will be here, making it a frenzied evening for us scribes.
Robinson and Landry take center stage at 5:30 p.m. and both locker rooms will open soon after. We'll have the usual news, notes and video in this space, but keep an eye on our Twitter account for quicker updates.
And, for good measure, we'll try to get the latest on Paul Pierce's injured thumb and whether he'll be inactive tonight, as he hinted the past couple of days after struggling mightily due to the injured digit.