Rivers expects everyone to play despite injury

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Rivers expects everyone to play despite injury

ATLANTA The off days since the Boston Celtics Game 4 win didn't bring about the improvements in health that the C's would have wanted.

Still, with a chance to eliminate the Hawks tonight, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expects his usual cast of characters on the floor tonight.

Following Sunday's 101-79 win over Atlanta, Rivers was concerned that injuries might prevent some players - namely Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley - from playing tonight.

Pierce suffered a left knee injury during the Celtics' morning shoot-around prior to Game 4, and re-aggravated it in the first half of the C's Game 4 win. He returned in the second half, but left for good after the Celtics built up a substantial lead.

Bradley has had been bothered by a sore left shoulder that made his availability uncertain prior to Game 4.

Other injuries of note include Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) and Ray Allen (right ankle), although Allen's injury appears to be the least bothersome of them all right now.

Rivers said prior to this morning's shoot-around that as of now, he didn't expect to have to make any changes to the lineup due to injuries.

"Everyone's going to play, I think," Rivers said.

Even Allen, who has shown no signs of a setback in the two games he has played after missing nearly a month of the season with a right ankle injury.

"Ray feels good; he's probably the healthiest right now," Rivers said.

Healthy is not something Avery Bradley would use to describe how he's feeling now, or will feel anytime soon.

The pain associated with the shoulder injury that bothered him throughout the season, has become worse in the playoffs.

Prior to being given the green light to play on Sunday, Bradley went through a set of pre-game shooting drills under the watchful eye of the C's medical staff.

That's unlikely to happen tonight, with Bradley tellingCSNNE.comthat he has every intention of playing tonight.

"It's still sore," he said of the shoulder injury that cost him one game during the regular season. "I know it's going to be sore. I'll just fight through the pain. I'll be alright."

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

The Washington Wizards plan to roll into tonight’s game against the Celtics donning all-black clothes, as in a funeral procession, a sign of solidarity and an omen of sorts for a game that they hope ends with them burying the Celtics.
 
When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response...“That’s cute!”
 
More than anything, the Wizards (24-20) are putting a significant amount of value into tonight’s game. A victory would extend their home winning streak to 14.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (26-17) come in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
 
“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”
 
The idea to arrive at the Verizon Center donning all-black was hatched by Bradley Beal, who has some contentious moments, to say the least, with the Celtics recently.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows all about the funeral talk which to him is just that, talk. He’s more concerned with his team doing what they need to do in order to win.
 
Nothing more.
 
Nothing less.
 
“At the end of the day, good basketball teams are physical,” he said. “There’s a line you don’t want to cross. Ultimately, you have to be appropriately physical at a high level. It’s about playing well, focus on your next task at hand. This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at.”

In the Celtics' 117-108 win over the Wizards on Jan. 11, Beal was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after getting into it with Marcus Smart.
 
Last season, Beal was on the receiving end of a left forearm to the face from Smart, who was driving to the basket at the time. The blow resulted in a broken nose for Beal in addition to spending time in the league’s concussion protocol program.
 
And then there’s his backcourt mate John Wall.
 
He was fined $15,000 for his role in a postgame incident with Jae Crowder (who was fined $25,000). Crowder pushed Wall’s nose with his finger, which led to Wall retaliating with a slap towards Crowder’s face.
 
And when the two met back on Nov. 9, Wall was hit with a flagrant-2 foul (an automatic ejection) when he threw Smart down hard to floor in the final moments of a Wizards win.
 
The Celtics have a few games that have become more physical than others recently, but there’s something about this Celtics-Wizards matchup that brings out an elevated level of feistiness.
 
“It’s just all talk; that’s all it is,” Thomas said. “I guess they taking it and running with it. I don’t know what it is. I [saw] the funeral and the all-black thing last night and I just laughed about it. We’ll be there tonight for a game, not a funeral.”
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Wizards in Washington. 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.

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