Doc: We don't expect Pierce to play Sunday

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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.

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 
 
“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
 
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
 
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists. 

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

The fact that the James Harden of the Houston Rockets went to the free throw line 18 times which was more than the entire Celtics roster (12 free throw attempts total) certainly fired up conspiracy theorists among Celtics Nation. 
 
But what seemed to draw the most ire was what appeared to be a 3-pointer by Avery Bradley late in the fourth quarter that was initially called a long two-pointer. 
 
And after it was reviewed by the good folks in Secaucus, N.J., they allowed the ruling to stand because there wasn’t enough proof in the many replay angles for them to overturn the original call. 
 
The missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the closing seconds stand out, obviously. 
 
But the 3-pointer that wasn’t a 3-pointer was one of the more talked-about topics in the Celtics locker room afterwards. 
 
“From the angle we saw, it was a three,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told reporters after the game. “We definitely thought it was.”
 
Said Jae Crowder: “I thought it was a three. Nothing we can do about it now.”
 
It was that kind of game for the Celtics, one in which plays that could go either way more often than not, went against them. 
 
And while Bradley’s questionable two-pointer certainly was a factor in the game’s outcome, as was the free throw discrepancy and the late-game misses, ultimately the blame for Monday’s loss falls upon the Celtics players who were still in position to win despite all those setbacks.

They simply didn't get it done, when it mattered.
 
Smart, who had 13 points off the Celtics bench, understands that fans like to blame the officials when a game ends like Monday’s loss to Houston. 
 
“Officials, they did their job,” Smart said. “You can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game. We made some costly plays down the stretch. Give credit to the Rockets. They made plays and executed down the stretch.”