Celtics gearing up for Spurs, Thunder

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Celtics gearing up for Spurs, Thunder

BOSTON Even the Celtics find themselves from time to time taking a verbal dip into the "take things one game at a time" mantra that far too many coaches and players adopt as a primary talking point.

But with a potent 1-2 punch from out West (San Antonio followed by Oklahoma City) invading the TD Garden this week, it's hard to imagine Boston's focus will totally shift on one and not both of their next opponents.

Moments after Boston's 103-83 loss at Detroit on Sunday, this became abundantly clear in the Celtics' post-game comments.

"This is one of those games you just throw away; don't even look back at it," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "And just move on from it. We got a couple day's rest. We got two great teams coming into our building, so hopefully we can get back on track and get some good wins at home."

And while Boston clearly recognizes the quality of opponents that will be coming into town this week, their focus for the next two games isn't any different than it would be for any other regular season matchups.

"We're going to take (today) off and do very little on Tuesday," Rivers said. "That's why I always tell you guys, you want to win every game. But you can't. You can learn a little from all these games. But it's not like this is a playoff game coming up on Wednesday and we would be practicing hard, you know what I mean?"

Considering the Celtics just completed what will arguably be the most physically and mentally challenging portion of their schedule -- seven games in 10 days -- Rivers plans to give his team as much rest as possible heading into this two-game set of talented teams coming to town.

"When you come off this kind of stretch, and you go into these two games with fatigue, you just have to be very careful," Rivers said. "We're going to do something Tuesday, but it's not going to be a lot of work."

In addition to preparing to do battle against two of the NBA's top teams, the C's are also battling the fatigue that comes with having so many games so close behind one another.

"Our guys, half of them . . . are sick, half of them are tired," Rivers said.

Rivers got a call on Sunday morning from team trainer Ed Lacerte who informed Rivers that, the C's had "six guys with head colds and not feeling good."

Rivers added: "That's probably because of the stretch, in and out of weather and all that."

The schedule will indeed soften up in terms of travel this week.

But the caliber of opponents? Major upgrade.

And it doesn't matter which team is on the docket first. Because for this week, taking things "one game at a time" is not an option, not with a talented San Antonio team serving as the opening act for the NBA Finals runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder less than 48 hours later.

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are far from being healthy heading into tonight’s must-win Game 5, but they will have all of their players available with the exception of Isaiah Thomas (hip).

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown (right hip) was questionable heading into tonight’s game, but he told CSNNE.com earlier that he was planning to give it a go tonight.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed later on that the 6-foot-7 rookie would in fact play tonight.

His presence tonight is one of the many keys to Boston’s efforts to keep their season alive.

They trail Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a loss tonight ending their season and with that, sending the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Boston’s Amir Johnson (right shoulder) did not play in Game 4, but will be in uniform and available to play tonight. Stevens said the 6-foot-9 veteran was healthy enough to play in Game 4 but Stevens elected to keep him out of the game because he wanted Johnson to have more than one day to rest his shoulder before potentially playing him again.

In other injury-related news, Stevens confirmed comments made earlier in the day by Danny Ainge regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs after the injury proved to be too much for him to play through at halftime of Boston’s Game 2 loss.

Speaking during 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, Ainge said there was “a lot” of inflammation around the affected joint on Thomas’ right hip.

“It had gotten worse from the MRI’s he had before,” said Ainge who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Said Stevens: “It sounds to me like the course of action right now … is let the inflammation go down a little bit.”

Ainge said earlier that because of the inflammation, it will likely be at least a couple weeks before Thomas and the Celtics will know if he will require surgery or whether another form of treatment will be needed.

Because of that uncertainty, Ainge stressed that Thomas would not return to play in this series even if it were closer.

“No. No way. He’s done (for the season),” Ainge said.