Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Paul Pierce, few else to play
By Brian Windhorst
BOSTON -- It appears the Miami Heat's Big Three are in full shutdown mode until the playoffs.
Chris Bosh said he will not play when the Heat play at Boston on Tuesday night as he recovers from a hamstring injury. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who is recovering from a dislocated finger, are also out after being game-time decisions.
The Celtics were without several stars, as well.
Though Paul Pierce returned to the lineup after a one-game absence to rest, Boston was still without Kevin Garnett (rest/hip flexor), Ray Allen (ankle), Rajon Rondo (lower back), Mickael Pietrus (knee), and Greg Stiemsma (foot).
Rivers said he wanted to play Garnett tonight, but his center approached him about taking the night off to continue to rest and recover from a longstanding hip flexor issue.
"I wanted to play (Garnett) tonight," Rivers said. "My choice was more tonight and give him a day off Thursday. Kevin never comes in and when he comes in to say that, 'I think I need two more days,' it speaks volumes."
The Heat technically are still alive for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference but have no longer made it a priority. A loss Tuesday night or a victory for the Chicago Bulls in either of their final two games on Wednesday or Thursday would eliminate Miami.
Bosh is missing his fifth consecutive game with his injury, which the Heat have been vague about until now. They first called it "bumps and bruises" then "minor ailments" and then "leg fatigue" before Bosh revealed he hurt his hamstring last week at New Jersey. He was able to practice Tuesday.
"It's just precautionary," Bosh said. "We want to make sure it doesn't turn into a serious problem."
Wade had the splint on his left index finger that he dislocated last Saturday removed and also went through practice. He says he is slightly limited but will be ready for the start of the playoffs.
"It's going to be there probably for the rest of the season," Wade said. "But it's coming around."
With the Heat likely to rest their players in the season finale on Thursday at Washington, the Heat will enter the playoffs with their three All-Stars not having played in a game together for more than two weeks.
ESPNBoston.com's Greg Payne contributed to this report.