Pregame: Pavlovic starts vs. Raptors
December, 21, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Quick hits before the Boston Celtics host the Toronto Raptors in their preseason finale Wednesday night at TD Garden:
* Pavlovic to start vs. Raptors; Pierce "iffy" vs. Knicks: Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Sasha Pavlovic will get the start Wednesday night against the Raptors with the goal of seeing how he operates with the first unit. With Sunday's season-opener looming and Rivers' preference to keep Marquis Daniels with the second unit, Wednesday's game will offer Rivers some insight into whether Pavlovic can handle the starting chores should Pierce be forced to sit out on Christmas Day in New York.
"I just want to see Sasha with the first unit more than anything," said Rivers. "Right now, if we had to play today -- which is pretty soon actually, it’s almost a true statement -- the way things are, we would probably start Marquis. But I do want to see Sasha with the [first] group and see how that works out."
Pavlovic had been nursing a left wrist injury that forced him to sit out Sunday's exhibition game in Toronto. As for Pierce, he's been shut down until later in the week with a bone bruise on his right heel. The team remains uncertain if he'll play against the Knicks.
"Whatever 'iffy' is, he is that [for Sunday's game]," said Rivers. "Honestly, I don't know. A bruise, and that's what it is, on his heel. It heals slowly, but it heals. It's gotten a lot better, but we just don't know yet."
Rivers said Pierce has been working out doing some work in the pool and on the exercise bike to keep up his conditioning. Once game-ready, Rivers won't hesitate to toss him back in the lineup.
"You just throw [Pierce] out there and see what he can give you," said Rivers. "He’s a gamer, he’s always been that. This is an extraordinary circumstance -- where we’ve been in a lockout, we’ve had a week to two weeks together [in training camp] and he’s been a part of none of that. And then we’re going to just throw him in a game when he gets healthy. It’s not the best situation you want to be in, but when you play 66 games in 124 days, you don’t have a choice. You can’t burn four or five games."
* Roster moves coming soon: Rivers said the team could make final cuts as early as following Wednesday's game (or Thursday morning at the latest). Barring a move to add a body from outside the organization, the Celtics have two roster spots for four camp invites (Greg Stiemsma, Gilbert Brown, Jamal Sampson, and Michael Sweetney). Could one of them make a late push in Wednesday's game?
"There’s always time," said Rivers. "We’re going to play them a lot. Honestly, I’ve pretty much made up my mind. But someone could always go for 60 [points]. And I would assume that would change my mind."