- Peter May, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- Some news and notes from the Celtics prior to their regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks:
Personnel report: Allen, Stiemsma sit; Garnett, Rondo return
Ray Allen missed his ninth straight game with his sore right ankle, but Rivers said he continues to believe Allen will be available for the playoffs.
“It’s a concern,’’ Rivers said. “I think he’s probable. Isn’t that what they say in football, when there’s a chance more than 50 percent that he’ll play? Let’s put him at probable.”
Allen was joined on the inactive list by Greg Stiemsma, who could have played but was given the night to rest. Stiemsma hasn’t even practiced much this year due to ongoing foot and knee woes, but he has been available for the games. That led Rivers to joke, “he’s got the best job in world. Just go and play games, no practice. That’s nice. He’s figured it out early.”
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo, who had not played since April, was due for some time as was Kevin Garnett, who had sat out the last two games. Rivers said he was worried a little about conditioning in Rondo’s case.
“He hasn’t run or picked up a basketball in 10 days,’’ the coach said. Rondo’s double-digit assist streak of 23 straight games may be in jeopardy if Rivers’ cut backs on his minutes.
Mickael Pietrus was back in the lineup for the first time since April 15. Pietrus had missed the four games due to a swollen right knee, but he said before the game he is fine and eager to contribute in the postseason.
“I’m here to sacrifice. I’m not worried about my knee,’’ he said. “I want to die for that team. I’m going to bleed green. If I have a sprained finger, I am still going to play because I want to win a championship.”
Coach Doc Rivers said he would watch Pietrus’ minutes, but admitted that that might be hard to do, given Pietrus’ preference to stay on the floor. “He looked great in shootaround,’’ Rivers said. “I actually had to slow him down because we were supposed to go at medium speed and I don’t think that’s in his vocabulary.”
Pietrus, when asked about how much he was going to play, said it was up to Rivers, then suggested he’d like to play wire-to-wire.
Sunday is just fine
The Celtics found out earlier in the day that their first playoff game would be on Sunday. While neither the time nor the locale was known before the game, Rivers was happy to have an extra day. Some teams will start on Saturday.
“That would be tough, to play (Thursday) and then to start the playoffs on Saturday, especially if you’re the travel team,’’ Rivers said. “It’s nice for both teams. It’s nice to get that extra day.”
The Celtics plan to practice both Friday and Saturday.
Wide open playoffs
Rivers said he thinks this year has produced a playoff season in which all 16 teams have every right to think they can go all the way.
“All of them have confidence’’ he said of the playoff teams. “Every single team thinks they have a shot. The favorites deserve to be the favorites. But the underdogs are confident and we are in that group.”
* There was a box of headphones in the locker of each Celtic, courtesy of Allen. They’re called Skullcandy Throwback Mix Master Headphones and these were in green with the Celtics logo. You can have a set of your own for $299.99 from the NBA Store.
* Chris Wilcox was at the game. The Celtics waived him on March 23. He later underwent heart surgery.
* Congratulations to longtime Celtics public relations chief Jeff Twiss, who was honored before the game by the team.
* Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles came out for his pregame chat with reporters wearing blue jeans.
5dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
6dESPN Stats and Information Group