Pierce out for Celtics opener

Pierce out for Celtics opener
December 25, 2011, 4:29 pm
Share This Post

NEW YORK Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce arrived a few minutes ago, donning a blue suit with a red tie.

It's a look that unfortunately for the C's, he'll still have when the season tips off today against the New York Knicks.

The sore right heel injury that has kept him sidelined for most of training camp will keep him out for today's game as well.

"If there was a slight chance I could play, I'd definitely be out there," said Pierce, who added that an MRI recently revealed he has a bone bruise and remains questionable for Tuesday's game at Miami.

Not having their best scorer is certainly a blow; even more so when you consider what he has done on Christmas Day games.

Pierce has averaged 21.7 points in his three Christmas Day games, more than any player in franchise history. Trailing him are former Celtics legends Bill Sharman (20.8 points in 9 games); John Havlicek (20.67 games); Bob Cousy (20.311 games) and Jo Jo White (20.34 games).

If Pierce is unable to play, the C's are likely to go with Sasha Pavlovic or Marquis Daniels. Rivers is inclined to go with Pavlovic primarily because he likes the look of the second unit when it includes Daniels.

Newly acquired Mickael Pietrus will not be with the team for today's game. He told NBA.com that he hoped to join the C's in Miami for Tuesday's matchup with the Heat, but it's more likely that his first action with the Celtics won't come until the home opener Dec. 30 against Detroit.

Other Celtics-related notes:

Pierce isn't the only record-setting Celtic on this current team. Point guard Rajon Rondo holds the team record for assists in a Christmas Day game, tallying 12 against the Lakers in 2008.

That performance broke a franchise record that had stood for 41 years. The previous record holder was Havlicek who racked up 10 assists in the 1967 at the old Madison Square Garden.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had one of his best Christmas Day performances in 1987 with the Atlanta Hawks.

But that game, like many with Atlanta, was one in which one of his teammates -- Dominique Wilkins -- was even more impressive.

In Atlanta's 106-100 win over Philadelphia at the Spectrum, Rivers had 19 points and 11 assists.

But the star that night was Wilkins, who scored 45 points in 41 minutes of work.

Jermaine O'Neal will start at center, and the C's will look to him offensively more than they did last season. If that's the case, O'Neal may have a shot to do something a Boston center hasn't done in a while on opening night -- score in double figures.

Not since Mark Blount scored 19 points in 2005 did a C's starting center reach double digit points on opening night. The last time a Celtics starting center scored 20 points was Robert Parish in 1993 against today's opponent, the New York Knicks.

    Advertisement