James to guard Garnett at times in Game 4


James to guard Garnett at times in Game 4

BOSTON There will be no need to adjust your television set or find yourself pleasantly surprised by your XBox or some other gaming system of choice looking more life-like than you remember.

LeBron James will be guarding Kevin Garnett at some point in tonight's pivotal Game 4 matchup. between Boston and Miami.

For those who didn't stick around for the end of Boston's 101-91 Game 3 win over Miami, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went with an all-perimeter unit after his club fell behind big in the second half.

That group included James at center, defending Garnett.

Spoelstra was non-committal on whether the Heat would in fact go with a lineup that had James at center.

"We were playing out of desperation," Spoelstra said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

But James made it clear that he anticipated having to defend Garnett - who is at least three inches taller than him - at some point tonight.

"Well, we're going to have to go to it," James said of the small lineup. "It's just how our lineup is being played right now, especially with CB (Chris Bosh) being out. I'm going to be guarding him (Garnett) either in the case of lining up against him to start the possession or a switch."

And when that happens, it becomes one of the few times James and the word "mismatch" become a description of what an opponent has over him, and not vice versa.

James and the Heat have seen their share of big men throughout their playoff run.

But Garnett is a completely different - and in many ways more daunting - challenge than the others.

"KG is a difficult cover," James said. "First of all, he's a more prolific scorer than (New York Knicks center Tyson) Chandler and (Indiana's Roy) Hibbert. And when he gets to shoot, his wing span is he shoots higher than anybody we have in this league. So we have to do a better job of trying to help each the out and not expose ourselves as much with our coverages."

Added Dwyane Wade: "He's Kevin Garnett, one of the best players that's played this game for many, many years. So he puts a lot of pressure on you obviously offensively with his ability to be able to shoot from the outside just as good as any other big in the game."

And the challenge of limiting him will indeed be spread throughout the Heat roster, James included.

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit


Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step


How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”