Garnett, Pietrus doubtful vs. Pistons

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Garnett, Pietrus doubtful vs. Pistons

WALTHAM Kevin Garnett has proven to be a sturdy, durable force for the Boston Celtics -- until now.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said a right hip flexor injury will likely keep Garnett out of Wednesday's game against Detroit.

Rivers said in addition to Garnett and Brandon Bass (left knee swelling), Mickael Pietrus (knee) is also doubtful.

Garnett's injury apparently flared up in Boston's 95-91 win over Chicago on Sunday.

"Kevin has the best chance (of playing) of the three," Rivers said. "But I would say all are doubtful."

Garnett is currently the only Celtic starter not to miss any games this season.

"It has to be the same mentality. You realize there are going to be injuries throughout the year," said Paul Pierce. "Just like when we missed (Rajon) Rondo; just like when we missed Ray (Allen) for a few games, you gotta have guys ready to step in and step up."

If Garnett is unable to play, the C's are likely to turn to rookie JuJuan Johnson who had a career-high 12 points in Boston's win over the Bulls on Sunday.

The idea that he might be starting, is one that Johnson has never given a moment of thought, not with this team, this season.

"Not looking at whose in front of me this year," Johnson said. "Brandon (Bass), KG, JO, Chris (Wilcox) I honestly never even thought about it."

But that opportunity may be his for the taking on Wednesday if Garnett can't play.

Whether it's starting or coming off the bench, Johnson said his approach will stay the same.

"My approach is just to be ready, listen to these older guys, listen to these coaches, just try to stay locked in," he said. "That's all I can do."

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.