Doc: We don't expect Pierce to play Sunday

579448.jpg

Doc: We don't expect Pierce to play Sunday

WALTHAM -- The Boston Celtics aren't expecting a Christmas Day miracle from Paul Pierce on Sunday.
Following practice on Friday, coach Doc Rivers says it's still doubtful Pierce (right heel) will play on Opening Day against the New York Knicks. The Celtics captain didn't participate in the teams practice and will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Pierce did light shooting after practice and Rivers noted he has been working out more. If he were able to suit up, Rivers would limit his minute off the bench.
Paul may wake up and say, Coach, I want to go, Rivers said. I can tell you this, its very unlikely hell start if he plays. I dont think thatll happen. So if he does play, hell play 15, 20 minutes, but right now I dont see him playing.
Without Pierce in the starting lineup, Rivers will most likely turn to Sasha Pavlovic, who started Wednesdays preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. Pavlovic has improved his defense since last season, and starting him will allow Rivers to keep the second unit in tact.
I just think they feel each other, and I think Marquis Daniels really helps, especially when we go with a five-man second unit, which I dont know if well do or not, he explained. But it just really helps the team.
So what would happen if Pierce told Rivers he can go on Sunday?
Its the medical staffs decision. Its 100 percent the medical staff, said Rivers. I think this year, its really going to have to be that because we cant trust them in that because if they do play, and then further their injury and miss 10 games, thats the same as 25 games in a normal year because of the shortened season.
He continued, I dont talk to the players about it. I talk to the medical staff about it, because you can talk to a player about injuries all day. When they get injured, their mental will tell them theyre not either way, so they cant be honest. They just literally cannot be honest with injuries. I dont think Ive ever met an honest player with injuries.

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup