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News » Celtics need Pierce's knee to be OK 2008-06-07


Celtics need Pierce's knee to be OK 2008-06-07


Celtics need Pierce's knee to be OK 2008-06-07
BOSTON - It hasn't quite reached the level of Kevin McHale's take-down of Kurt Rambis 24 years ago, but now we've got some real-life drama.

2008 NBA Finals


Sunday's Game 5

  • Lakers hold off Celtics to win Game 5

Analysis

  • Kriegel: Kobe almost waited too long
  • Rosen: Lakers still have work to do
  • Behrendt: KG feels the pressure

Thursday's Game 4

  • Celtics storm back to stun Lakers

Analysis

  • Rosen: Celtics' defense tough to crack
  • Kahn: Allen giving it his best shot

Lakers-Celtics history

  • Hill: Rivalry's 10 greatest moments
  • Behrendt: Bird, Magic reminisce
  • Hill: Ranking the Celtics-Lakers Finals
  • Boeck: West revisits the rivalry
  • Kahn: Gamesmanship marks rivalry
  • Whatifsports.com: All-time teams series

Photos

  • Finals pics: Game 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

Video

  • NBA Finals Video Central

Also

  • NBA Finals central: Lakers-Celtics
  • Finals talk: Discuss Lakers-Celtics
  • Complete NBA playoff coverage

Phil Jackson, the Los Angeles Lakers Zen Master, added some fuel to the fire in the new-aged Celtics-Lakers rivalry when talking about the comparison of Paul Pierce's re-emergence from the locker room to Willis Reed's gutsy performance back in the 1970 NBA Finals.

"If I'm not mistaken, I think Willis Reed missed a whole half or three quarters of the game and literally had to have a shot, a horse shot, three of four of them in his thigh to come back out and play," Jackson said.

"Paul got carried off and was back on his feet in a minute," Jackson added. "I don't know if the angels visited him at halftime or in that time-out period he had or not, but he didn't even limp when he came back out on the floor. I don't know what was going on there. Was Oral Roberts back there in their locker room?"

Wow.

Now we've got ourselves a series — and maybe some hatred to go along with it.

Prior to this, the best anyone could come up with was some trivial discontent between Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen which was basically irrelevant.

Back in the day, Boston fans respected yet despised the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. It was the same on the west coast, where those in L.A. had plenty of hatred for Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge.

It wasn't manufactured.

"It's not up to them to approve or disapprove or to judge," Boston's Kevin Garnett said in defense of his teammate. "The man got carried off the court. I mean, that's pretty significant."

"Oh, I don't care," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said upon hearing of Jackson's comments. "Aren't we skeptics anyway now about everything? So, what the heck. Let it begin."

What certainly looked to be a season-ending knee injury as Pierce was literally carried off the court midway through the third quarter turned out to be a sprained meniscus.

"I had two doctors look at it and we did some tests on it, some standing lateral movements," Pierce said. "What the professionals and the doctors, they know without an MRI, just their evaluation."

Pierce maintains there will be no MRI.

Pierce and Rivers said that the Celtics captain wouldn't have been able to go if Game 2 was on Friday. Thankfully for Boston fans, they didn't have to worry about making that decision. Pierce has until Sunday to receive treatment in an attempt to get healthy quick.

"I think there's a great chance I'll play on Sunday," Pierce said. "Just knowing myself, knowing my threshold for pain, there's a great chance I will be playing."

The question is whether the Celtics will get the Pierce that showed up for the stretch drive late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth — when he made key shots and also made key stops against Bryant.

Or will the limp return and Pierce be relegated to a jump shooter and someone incapable of trying to contain Bryant for the remainder of the series?

The Celtics were far more physical in the series opener and Jackson admitted that his team needs to step up its level of intensity and physical play. Rivers said that starting center Kendrick Perkins has a high-ankle sprain but is expected to play Sunday night.

No one expects Bryant to have another subpar performance in Game 2 — even though it appears as though the Celtics have his number defensively.

"We know we're going to have to win a game when he has a great game," Rivers said of Bryant. "We're going to have to count on that."

That may not matter — depending on Pierce's knee.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 7, 2008

 

 
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