Pierce (thigh) questionable for Friday vs. Suns


Pierce (thigh) questionable for Friday vs. Suns

By A. Sherrod Blakely

PORTLAND, Ore. The Boston Celtics got a tough, hard-earned 88-78 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night.

But like so many of their victories this season, it may have come at the cost of losing a starter.

Paul Pierce, who had 17 points, suffered what team officials are describing as a bruised right thigh injury.

That diagnosis came shortly after coach Doc Rivers had initially believed Pierce suffered a knee injury.

"Stuff that happens throughout the course of a game, bang knees, turn ankle," Pierce said.

Knee. Thigh. It doesn't matter.

Pierce's status is up in the air heading into Friday's game at Phoenix.

"Hopefully it doesn't swell up too much," Pierce said. "It swelled up a little bit, but not too bad. Hopefully it'll be all right for Friday."

And that is not good news for a Boston team that has been decimated by injuries all season.

With all the injuries that Boston has had this season, Pierce has managed to start all 45 games, a streak that might come to an end on Friday.

"He was struggling, trying to run," said Rivers. "We'll have to wait and see. I don't know if there are going to be X-rays or not. We didn't even check that. We don't need injuries, I can tell you that. We got enough of those."

If Pierce can't play, the C's would likely start either Marquis Daniels or Von Wafer.

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

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”