Pierce: 'I'm day-to-day'


Pierce: 'I'm day-to-day'

BOSTON It's a new season for the Boston Celtics, but a key player being in day-to-day mode?

Yeah, we've been there, done that.

This time it's Paul Pierce, who acknowledged prior to Boston's 106-104 loss to New York on Christmas Day that there's no time frame for when his right heel will be healthy enough for him to resume playing.

Pierce said an MRI taken recently revealed that he's suffering from a bone bruise, one of the more unpredictable injuries in terms of healing.

It's the kind of injury from which Pierce can bounce back in days, or the pain could be so severe that he may be out for weeks.

"I don't see it being a month or two," Pierce said of his injury. "Right now, I'm day-to-day."

The Celtics started Sasha Pavlovic in place of Pierce on Sunday, and had Marquis Daniels coming off the bench.

It was a rough night for Pavlovic, whose only point scored was one for the Knicks -- he was whistled for a technical foul that resulted in one of Carmelo Anthony's game-high 37 points.

"This is my ninth year in the league," Pavlovic reminded the media, even though at times on Sunday he looked like a rookie who had never faced Anthony. "He's just a tough player; he's tough to stop. He's gonna get his points. All we gotta do is make it hard as possible for him."

Without question, handling Anthony would not have been nearly as difficult if Pierce were healthy enough to play.

But don't tell coach Doc Rivers, who was quick to shut down any talk about Sunday's loss being about the Celtics not having Pierce.

"Listen, Paul didn't play. We don't worry about that," Rivers said. "We don't talk about guys who are injured. The Knicks beat us; they beat us with what we had. No excuses."

There's no telling if Pierce would have been able to play if it weren't so early in the season. But it's clear the C's understand that even with a tight schedule, there's no benefit in bringing a player back -- especially one of Pierce's caliber -- back too soon from an injury.

"The key for us," Pierce said, "is being healthy when it's time to be healthy. That's the biggest issue surrounding us over the past two or three years. Regardless of the start, regardless of the playoff seed. We'd like to be the number-one seed and have home-court advantage. But the most important thing for this team is to be healthy."

Which is why as disappointing as it was to lose the opener to the Knicks, the Celtics would be even more down if they had won the game and Pierce had re-aggravated the heel and was sidelined even longer.

And when you talk about Pierce, few players in franchise history have been as good on Christmas Day.

In fact, Pierce has averaged 21.7 points in his three Christmas Day games, more than any player in franchise history.

"Everybody understands how competitive I am, especially on a stage like this, Madison Square Garden, Christmas Day," Pierce said.

Well aware of the risk of further injuring the heel, "It just wouldn't be worth it (to have played on Sunday), to have a setback."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: C's, Hornets heading in opposite directions

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.