Pavlovic gets starting nod in place of Pierce

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Pavlovic gets starting nod in place of Pierce

BOSTON Paul Pierce (right heel) will not play tonight, so that means one thing More Marquis Daniels, right?

Not so fast.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he'll start Sasha Pavlovic in place of Pierce, and not Daniels, in tonight's preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors.

Rivers said if it were the regular season opener, he would start Daniels.

"But I do want to see Sasha with the (first) group, and see how that works out," Rivers said.

Pierce, who has only had one full practice in the preseason because of the injury, remains questionable for the Celtics' season opener at New York on Christmas Day.

"A bruise - and that's what it is, on the heel - that heals slowly, but it heals," Rivers said. "It's gotten a lot better, but we just don't know yet."

The condensed NBA schedule certainly isn't doing the C's any favors, either.

After Sunday's game against the Knicks, the C's have five games in the next eight days.

Rivers is somewhat concerned about throwing Pierce on the floor with what essentially amounts to no training camp.

"Paul, you throw him out there and see what he can gives you," Rivers said. "He's a gamer; he's always been that."

Rivers added, "this is an extraordinary circumstance. Been in a lockout, we've had a week, two weeks together and he's been part of none of that. And then we're just going to throw him in a game, when he gets healthy? That's not the situation you want to be in. But when you play 66 games in 124 days, you don't have a choice. You can't burn four or five games, if he's ready to play."

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”