To stay fresh, Celtics may limit Pierce's minutes

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To stay fresh, Celtics may limit Pierce's minutes

WALTHAM Paul Pierce is looking a bit slimmer these days.

If Doc Rivers has his way, the same might be true for Pierce's minutes this season.

Having Pierce at the top of his game when the playoffs roll around is a priority for Boston, which is why Rivers is seriously considering putting similar limitations on Pierce's playing time that he has done with Kevin Garnett.

"Paul is a guy I've never really worried about with minutes," Rivers said. "But I'm going to watch his minutes."

Heading into his 15th NBA season, Pierce has averaged 36.9 minutes played per game and has not averaged less than 34 in any single season.

That's a considerable amount of wear and tear over time, which is why Rivers has to give serious thought to going with the 5-5-5 plan for Pierce which would limit him to playing in five-minute bursts.

While it would certainly require some adjusting on Pierce's part, he's all for it.

"Doc, he's the coach around here," Pierce said. "I trust his judgement in everything that he does. We've been together a long time. Whatever is going to be best for the team, that's what it's gonna be."

But Pierce is one of the NBA's best at scoring in bunches, which might at times make the 5-5-5 rule difficult to implement.

"With me and Doc, we'll figure things out," Pierce said. "But if I'm on fire the first five minutes, I can't come out. It's simple and plain."

A hot-shooting Pierce.

Rivers has no issues with riding him and ditching the 5-5-5 plan for a game every now and then.

"I'm all for it," Rivers said. "Paul is a gym rat. Obviously if we can keep Rondo's minutes down, we will. And Paul's minutes down. It doesn't mean we will. But I'm saying, it would be nice."

Having a healthy Pierce at the start of training camp is a treat as well.

Pierce suffered a heel injury shortly before the start of training camp last season. It limited him early in the season and it wasn't until around the all-star break did he start playing like the dominant wing player that has been named to the all-star team 10 times.

"It's definitely an advantage to come out here and be already in shape," Pierce said. "Injuries hampered me coming into training camp. I can get off to a better start, hopefully. It's important that we stay healthy. It's important that we get off to a good start."

Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

WALTHAM, Mass. – Like so many players who have spent part of their NBA journey having Kevin Garnett barking in their ear words of encouragement or just telling them to get the hell out his (bleepin’) way, you can count Avery Bradley among those who will miss the man affectionately known as ‘Big Ticket.’

Garnett recently announced his retirement after 21 NBA seasons, leaving behind a legacy that includes an NBA title won with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Among the current Celtics, Bradley is the only current member of the team who played with Garnett in Boston.

When Bradley got the news about Garnett’s retirement, he said he sat down and wrote Garnett a letter.

“To let him know how much I appreciate him, how special he is to me,” said Bradley who added that his relationship with Garnett was impactful both on and off the court. “Kevin’s just an amazing person.”

Leon Powe, a member of the Celtics’ championship team in 2008 with Garnett, echoed similar praise about his former teammate.

“As a teammate, as a player, KG meant the world to me,” Powe told CSNNE.com. “Intensity … he brought everything you would want to the game, to the practice field, he was just non-stop energy.”

And when you saw it time after time after time with him, pretty soon it became contagious.

“The intensity just motivated every guy on the team, including me,” Powe said. “It made you want to go out and lay it out on the line for him and the team. You see how passionate he is. You see he’s one of the greats. And when you see one of the greats of the NBA going hard like that all the time, you’re like ‘Man, why can’t I do that? It trickled down to me and every young guy on the team.

Powe added, “He brought that every single day, night, morning, it didn’t matter. He brought that intensity. That’s all you could ask for.”

And Garnett’s impact was about more than changing a franchise’s fortunes in terms of wins and losses.

He also proved to be instrumental in helping re-shape the culture into one in which success was once again defined by winning at the highest levels.

“KG has had as big an impact as anybody I’ve been around in an organization,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “The thing that stands out the most to me about KG is his team-first mentality. He never wanted it to be about KG, individual success to trump team success. He lived that in his day-to-day practice. That’s something I’ll remember about him.”