BOSTON -- Will Kevin Garnett be back on the floor Thursday in Chicago?
"I don’t know because I thought he was going [Wednesday night vs. the Pistons] until late," sighed Celtics coach Doc Rivers, clearly a bit irked at another late scratch for the Celtics. Garnett sat out Tuesday's practice with a sore left hip, but participated in the team's shootaround Wednesday morning, leaving Rivers confident he might be able to suit up.
In fact, the Celtics turned in their official lineup with Garnett listed as a probable starter, making Marquis Daniels a healthy scratch (joining injured top reserve Brandon Bass on the inactive list). By the time Boston realized Garnett couldn't go, it was too late to add Daniels back onto the active roster.
"That was the latest scratch that we’ve had, to the point that we had already filled out the injury list, and we would have activated Marquis, but we couldn’t, because we had already put in the list," said Rivers. "Which I think is another silly rule, but we won’t even get there -- the guy's sitting there healthy; I don’t know why he couldn't play."
The Celtics obviously struggled without their defensive leader, nearly giving up their first century mark in 26 games, allowing the Pistons to emerge with a 98-88 triumph at TD Garden. But Rivers thought Garnett's absence on offense was tangible as well, particularly as Boston struggled to get Ray Allen and Paul Pierce going.
"I said I was concerned going into the game, honestly, offensively, not having that big to stretch the floor, like Kevin and Brandon [Bass] do, and having two lower post bigs," said Rivers. "I thought [Detroit coach] Lawrence [Frank] obviously knew that, and they trapped Ray and Paul every time they caught the ball, without really worrying about our bigs popping for shots, like we [typically] do."
Allen didn't generate a field goal until the final seconds, finishing 1-for-5 shooting with 10 points (he made 8-of-9 attempts at the charity stripe), while Pierce missed 8-of-11 shots he put up overall, chipping in 10 points. Take away Rondo (15 of 27, 35 points) and spot starter Chris Wilcox (8 of 12, 17 points) and the rest of Boston's lineup was 11-of-38 shooting (28.9 percent) for 36 points (with rookie JaJuan Johnson chipping in 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting).