Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Practice: Rest stop ahead for vets?
By Greg Payne
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce said prior to Tuesday's practice that his sore right ankle is continuing to improve and that he was planning on participating in the entirety of the session.
"It's getting better," Pierce said. "I'm getting treatment, doing the necessary things I need to do to be better. It's doing a lot better."
Pierce is expected to play in Wednesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets, though he said he'll discuss with coach Doc Rivers the possibility of resting at times over the final five games of the regular season.
"I'm going to leave that up to Coach," Pierce said. "Maybe I'll talk to him, talk about these last five games, depending on how my body feels, depending on the seeding situation we're in. We'll figure something out."
Rivers told reporters he has a plan in place for resting Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who returned to the lineup Sunday following an eight-game absence due to inflammation in his left ankle, before the end of the season, but he wasn't willing to disclose any details. The Celtics currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, and are 2 1/2 games ahead of eighth-place Milwaukee. Rivers, while aware of the need to rest his veterans at times, doesn't want to see his club drop to the eighth spot and set itself up for a first-round matchup with the Miami Heat.
"Obviously, we have to take care of our position," Rivers said. "But, for Kevin, rest is always important, and Paul as well. But, other than that, we've thought about (resting them), we've talked about it."
Read on for other notes from Tuesday's session, including Pierce and Garnett stressing consistency, and Rivers' thoughts on an early screening of the new Jackie Robinson film, "42."
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Despite the Celtics' lineup being depleted by a number of season-ending injuries to rotation players, Pierce maintained his confidence that the remaining guys are capable of making a deep playoff run. His one concern? The team maintaining a consistent high level of play, which it has struggled with at times this season.
"Throughout the year, we showed an ability to beat the teams at the top," Pierce said. "The only main concern is maintaining that level of play for a consistent amount of games. We've been up, we've been down, we've won six, we've lost four. Hopefully we can hit our stride this coming week and going into the playoffs. If so, I like our chances against anybody in the East."
Garnett echoed the importance of consistency, but alluded to the Celtics needing to brush up on it a bit with the remaining practice time they have available.
"We're bonded, but how consistent we are with our system and things, that's a different story, and that's why we're in here and we'll continue to work at this thing," Garnett said. "Then when the playoffs start, it's all out."
CELTICS TAKE IN EARLY SCREENING OF "42"
Taking advantage of a rare off day on Monday, Rivers brought his club to an early showing of the new Jackie Robinson film, "42."
"It was really good. It was fantastic," Rivers said. "It was a great team message. It's funny, you think race, but, really, it was more of a team message, when players on the Brooklyn Dodgers accepted Jackie. And a lot of it was because he was their teammate. Actually, one of the guys said that, he said, 'What do you expect? I'm your teammate.' And I just thought that was really a cool honor."
While entertaining as a film, Rivers said the historical significance of its subject matter wasn't lost on his players.
"Yeah, I think a lot of players know the history," Rivers said. "Some may not have, I don't know that. I thought guys were at their full attention throughout the movie, and engaged, which I thought was really cool."
RIVERS POKES FUN AT FRANCONA
Rivers couldn't help but comment when asked about close friend and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona -- now the manager of the Cleveland Indians -- getting lost on a walk to Progressive Field, despite living just two blocks away.
"Yeah, that's a sad, sad thing," Rivers joked. "I'm so disappointed in Terry. I mean, getting lost going out to have a drink with me -- I can see that. But getting lost going to the ballpark, my gosh. And he lives two blocks away, and he was walking! I didn't know you could get lost walking. But I guess you can."