Pietrus, Wilcox out vs. Blazers

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Pietrus, Wilcox out vs. Blazers

BOSTON The Boston Celtics will once again go into battle short-handed with key reserves Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox out for tonight's game against Portland.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Pietrus has a sore right knee - the same knee Pietrus had surgery on this past summer.

The 6-foot-6 wing did not participate in the team's shoot-around on Friday morning.

As for Wilcox, he is out due to a personal matter.

With them out, look for the Celtics to lean on Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic to fill the void left by Pietrus.

Boston will likely turn to JaJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma to provide some of the energy that Wilcox has been bringing to the floor lately.

In addition to Pietrus and Wilcox, the Celtics will also be missing Jermaine O'Neal (wrist). He has yet to decide on whether he will have surgery, or take a cortisone shot which would likely keep him out for a couple weeks afterward. Rivers said prior to tonight's game against Portland that there's no update on O'Neal.

Earlier, Rivers said that he wasn't anticipating having O'Neal back, adding that anything he provided would be "a bonus."

Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket

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Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at Comcast SportsNet -- will take a look at the world of college basketball. From now until Selection Sunday, he'll be picking brackets heading into the tournament:

EAST
1. Villanova
16. Mount St. Mary’s/NC Central

8. Maryland
9. Virginia Tech

5. Notre Dame
12. UNC Wilmington

4. Florida
13. Vermont

6. Iowa State
11. Seton Hall/Illinois State

3. Florida State
14. Princeton

7. Michigan State
10. VCU

2. Kentucky
15. East Tennessee State

SOUTH
1. North Carolina
16. New Orleans

8. Dayton
9. Arkansas

5. Creighton
12. Middle Tennessee

4. West Virginia
13. Valpo

6. Saint Mary’s
11. USC

3. Oregon
14. Belmont

7. Miami
10. Marquette

2. Baylor
15. South Dakota

MIDWEST
1. Kansas
16. Texas Southern/North Dakota

8. Wichita State
9. Virginia Tech

5. Virginia
12. UT-Arlington

4. Purdue
13. Bucknell

6. Minnesota
11. California/Vanderbilt

3. Butler
14. Winthrop

7. South Carolina
10. Providence

2. Louisville
15. Florida Gulf Coast

WEST
1. Gonzaga
16. UC-Davis

8. Oklahoma State
9. Michigan

5. SMU
12. Nevada

4. Arizona
13. Monmouth

6. Wisconsin
11. Xavier

3. Duke
14. Akron

7. Cincinnati
10. Syracuse

2. UCLA
15. Cal-Bakersfield

LAST 4 IN:
Seton Hall
California
Illinois State
Vanderbilt

FIRST 4 OUT:
Rhode Island
Georgia Tech
Indiana
Kansas State

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.