Pierce's MRI negative, will play Wednesday

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Pierce's MRI negative, will play Wednesday

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM The MRI on Paul Pierce's sore left foot came back negative, which was about as positive a result as the Boston Celtics could have hoped for.

"He's good. It's OK. Everything is good," said coach Doc Rivers. "I think there's some bruising, swelling, but everything . . . he can play with. That was very good."

Rivers said Pierce will play against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday in Boston's last game prior to the All-Star break.

Despite being so close to the All-Star break, Rivers said there was no temptation to keep Pierce out.

"If we needed to rest him, we would," Rivers said.

The exact time of Pierce's injury is a bit sketchy, but Rivers believes it occurred against the Charlotte Bobcats last week.

And as far as making the injury worse by playing, that doesn't appear a factor.

"It's one of those things, where if someone hit you with a baseball bat on your arm, it's going to take time to heal," Rivers said. "That's what happened a couple games ago. He got kicked on the foot and then he got hit on the hand."

According to Pierce, the right hand injury occurred during the C's practice last Saturday.

"That's the one to me, that might take longer," Rivers said. "When you play basketball, the chance of you not getting hit on the hand is pretty bleak. I've had those . . . you just hope you can get through a four-game stretch without anybody hitting it."

After Wednesday's game, Pierce won't play again until Sunday's All-Star game, where he will be joined by teammates Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

Rivers, who will be the Eastern Conference's coach, isn't worried about Pierce getting hurt in that game.

"I know the coach," quipped Rivers. "So he probably will not play a lot in that game."

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

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”