Pierce, Shaq will play tonight vs. Suns


Pierce, Shaq will play tonight vs. Suns

By A. Sherrod Blakely

PHOENIX The streak continues.

Paul Pierce, one of only two Boston Celtics (Ray Allen is the other) to start every game this season, will be in the starting lineup tonight against the Phoenix Suns.

Pierce suffered what team officials described as a right thigh bruise against Portland on Thursday.

He left the game with about two minutes to play, and it was unclear if the injury would prevent him from suiting up tonight.

In addition to Pierce, the Celtics also welcome back Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal, who will start tonight, has missed the last three games with a sore right hip injury.

Shortly after the injury, both O'Neal and the Celtics targeted tonight's game for his return.

But don't get too used to seeing O'Neal on the floor tonight.

C's coach Doc Rivers said O'Neal will play limited minutes.

There's no timetable for when his backup, Kendrick Perkins, will replace him in the starting lineup.

"He'll start whenever we get to the point where we feel he can play not only 30 minutes, but 10 minutes in a row without any problems the next day," Rivers said. "I don't know when that's going to come."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."