The Celtics held Kendrick Perkins out for the second straight game as he battles tendinitis in his left knee. Coach Doc Rivers indicated Boston's center is likely to return Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, but said the team is using caution with the playoffs around the bend.
"I'm pretty sure he'll play Wednesday," said Rivers. "For him, I don’t think it's anything that serious -- [but] tendinitis can be, it can linger. When you come back, it can start right back up, but that’s why we're trying to head it off. Hopefully we've done it in time."
While Perkins remains sidelined (Rasheed Wallace drew the start), reserve guard Nate Robinson will be available after the left ankle he sprained in Friday's win over the Kings responded well for the second straight day.
"Nate's fine," said Rivers. When asked if the backup point guard would face any minute restrictions, Rivers laughed and noted, "No more than normal, anyway. He's not playing a lot right now."
Popovich on Finley: 'We honored Michael's request'
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Michael Finley's release earlier this month was a simple situation: The veteran swingman asked for his release and the Spurs provided it.
"We honored Michael's request to seek another team," said Popovich, who noted the 37-year-old Finley had been squeezed from the rotation as others leapfrogged him on the depth chart. "He asked and we decided to do it, and do it the right way before the [playoff eligibility] cutoff date, so he could go to a team and play in the playoffs. It happened quickly. I think it was the weekend before, with the deadline on Monday or Tuesday. We talked about it at my house over the weekend and granted his request."
Popovich sounded businesslike while discussing the situation, and while he said the request certainly surprised him, he noted he held no malice against Finley.
"Everybody asks about it," said Popovich. "I was surprised when he asked that, I didn't think that was something that Michael Finley would ask to do. But one has to be realistic. You put yourself in those shoes and, if you are toward the end of your career, and someone's not going to play you, and you still want to play more basketball, what's wrong with asking to play elsewhere and trying to play as well as you possibly can? If that's what you want to do -- and that's what he did -- I don't blame him for that a lick. There's no malice -- he's one of the great guys I've coached. He wanted to keep playing and he didn't want to sit there on the bench for the rest of the season. There's nothing wrong with that. He wanted to play."
After averaging 3.7 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting in 25 appearances for the Spurs this season, Finley is contributing 5.8 points per game on 55.1 percent shooting in 11 games for Boston.
Asked if Finley could start in Perkins' absence, Rivers laughed and noted, "This isn't high school -- when you play your old team you start him or anything like that. We're going to penalize [Finley] if the scouting report is not really good. I've got to think he has the best scouting report we've had all year."
Loose balls: Scal lands low blow on Robinson
* Robinson went to put on his game shorts and, noting the ones he had were a bit tattered, asked a locker room staffer to grab him a new pair. Across the locker room, Brian Scalabrine heard the request and shouted back, "Give me the old ones, my daughter can wear them."
Scalabrine's daughter, Adria Raine, is 11 months old. One of the more creative jabs on Robinson's height we've heard lately.
* When asked about Wallace's lackluster performance Friday (one rebound, 25 minutes, fouled out), Rivers said, "He was in foul trouble, so let’s hope [it's a better night rebounding]. When your big guy gets one rebound, you hope he does more the next game."