Friday, January 22, 2010
Pregame notes: Celtics vs. Trail Blazers
BOSTON -- A collection of pregame news and notes, updated straight up until tip-off as the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Boston Celtics Friday night at the TD Garden:
KG returns to starting lineup
After a dramatic pause, Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed forward Kevin Garnett will return to the starting lineup Friday night after a 10-game absence.
"He looked great -- he looked good today, this morning, yesterday during his little workout with the guys," said Rivers. "So he's good."
Rivers also indicated there would be no restrictions on Garnett, instead the team will allow the 15th-year forward to gauge his own limits.
"There's no minute restriction, we'll go more by his endurance, how he feels on the floor," said Rivers. "As far as the knee, we're not concerned by that.
"He's been running for a good week, week-and-a-half, so he does have some conditioning. But obviously it's not basketball condition. You can work out all you want, but the adrenaline and intensity, it's different when you play a real game. We'll find that out."
Rivers expects Garnett's return to have a trickle-down effect on the struggling Celtics.
"It's good to get Rasheed [Wallace] coming off the bench, it gives our bench a lift," said Rivers. "Over the stretch that Kevin's been out, I think the bench has really struggled at times. [Wallace will] give the bench some pop. That'll be good for us."
ESPN the Magazine's Louise K. Cornetta caught up with Glen "Big Baby" Davis before Friday's game for his player diary that appears exclusively here on the ESPNBoston.com Celtics Blog. Here's a snippet of what Davis had to say after he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for an obscene comment directed at a fan during Wednesday's loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"I shouldn't say those kinds of words," said Davis. "Even though a fan says anything to me, I shouldn't say that. I've got to understand who's watching out there for the kids and the parents. It's just a bad thing to say. You're frustrated. You're mad. That's not what you're supposed to say. You're just supposed to play the game of basketball and don't worry about the fans; that's what they are there for. When a fan talks personal about you in an emotional game, you know, it kind of gets to you, but you can't let it get to you. That's what [fans are] there for, to get you unfocused and frustrated."
Asked about the fine, Celtics coach Doc Rivers tried to bring a little lightheartedness to the situation.
"I don't know -- it was high," said Rivers. "I thought it was extreme, but I do understand. I mean, I get it. You just can't do what he did -- and get caught."
The joke elicited laughter, but Rivers got serious quickly.
"It's very difficult [to not react]," said Rivers. "Some of the things we hear in the crowd, it's amazing. There's been times when I stare up at the guy, hoping a menacing look will stop him, and usually it doesn't. Usually the beer wins out. It is tough, but you have to [show restraint]. We know that. It's not like this is something new, it's been going on for quite a long time. They get on the player -- and they should -- but some of the stuff you hear, from some guy sitting next to his son, it's pretty embarrassing. That's the way I look at it."
Daniels has cast removed
Celtics guard Marquis Daniels, sidelined since Dec. 4 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, had a hard cast removed Thursday and was on the court taking shots before Friday's game.
Daniels said there's a chance he could return before the All-Star break, but admitted the team will take a wait-and-see approach. Wearing a soft cast to prevent bending back the thumb as he expands the range of motion, Daniels hopes to be back on the practice court next week.
"Right now it's not painful, it's just stiff," said Daniels. "[My return] could be earlier [than the All-Star break], it all depends on how my body reacts to it."
Daniels admitted his left forearm is weak from not using the hand over the month-plus stretch since surgery. As he nears the end of his physical recovery, he stresses he's already over the mental hurdles.
"I'm going to try to play with no worries," said Daniels. "Just go out there and play hard. It's over now, I can come back and do it again, but I can't worry about that."
Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine had a sore right shoulder and did not dress for Friday's game, leaving the Celtics with only 11 healthy bodies.