• Injury news first: Perk is out for today’s game against the Spurs, per the Globe. Nate Robinson is probable. Here’s Doc on Perk’s tendonitis:
“It was bothering him. It was affecting his play. If it was the playoffs, he would be playing. No doubt. But it’s not, so we have to take advantage.’’
As much as I’d like that #3 seed, it’s more important to have Perk healthy for the post-season, obviously. Rest up, big fella.
• More injury news: Paul Pierce says he’s feeling much better after having his knee drained for a third time in late February (a procedure that was only publicly acknowledged last week). Via the same Globe story:
“I’m healthy now, and being more aggressive going to the basket,’’ Pierce said. “When I was injured, I was hesitant getting into the lane, and then didn’t really have a lot of lift. Now, I’m getting my legs back under me, I’m able to get that explosion, get to the rim.’’
All we can do is cross our fingers and hope the captain’s body stays healthy.
• One thing about Rajon Rondo: He doesn’t sugar coat things if he thinks the team is playing poorly. He comes and says the team is playing poorly; he’s the one that publicly claimed his teammates were playing based on individual “agendas” earlier this season. He has been among the more pessimistic guys on the team in his public statements about Boston’s post-Christmas play. So this quote from Scott Souza’s piece today brightened my morning:
“I am confident in this team that we can still win a championship,” Rondo said. “We may be the only guys who think that. But it’s irrelevant what other people think. We don’t really care. We feel we have the talent here that if we continue to work hard, and continue to buy into the system, we can win it.”
“We’re pretty far from where we were at game 17,” said Rondo, who declared two weeks ago the team had 17 regular-season games left to get this right. “We’ve made a lot of huge strides. We’ve just got to continue to play better.”
• Doc Rivers was just as emphatic in the Concord Monitor:
“It’s a completely different team,” Boston Coach Doc Rivers said when asked to compare the Celtics that lost in Denver to the Celtics that beat the Nuggets last week. “All of them are different. They’re better, they’re healthier. They’re feeling better.”
• Speaking of Concord: It is the hometown of Spurs’ forward/center/shooter Matt Bonner, and whenever the Spurs visit Boston, the Red Bomber scores tickets for two busloads of friends and family, according to the San Antonio Express-News:
• Tonight’s game will be San Antonio’s fifth in eight days against top-tier teams. They are 2-2 in the first four, with wins against the Cavs and Thunder and losses to the Hawks and Lakers. Their win Friday at home against Cleveland has San Antonio, an aging team that disappointed for long stretches of this season, gaining confidence in time for the playoffs. (Sound familiar?):
“It means we’re not that far from the best,” said Manu Ginobili, who continued his March tear with 30 points against Cleveland. “It’s just one game, and at home, but it makes us feel better.”
• Paul Pierce makes the same Spurs-Celtics comparison at ESPNBoston.com:
“Well, I don’t know what’s been said about them, but I know they’ve been playing through injuries like us,” said Pierce. “It’s a team that’s been talked about being a contender like us, so maybe there are some similarities, but they’re definitely a team you can’t count out.”
• The Patriot Ledger reminds me that Pierce also broke a team record on Friday, one I forgot to mention in my recap of that game:
Pierce, who went 10-for-12 from the line, has converted 5,373 free throws in his nearly 12 seasons.
That breaks the franchise mark set by John Havlicek, who connected on 5,369 foul shots during his 16 seasons.
If you’re reading this blog, you know how essential the Truth’s ability to get to the line has been for Boston over the last decade. It’s fitting this record belongs to him. And Pierce is still a monster at getting to the line when he wants to be, despite his newfound accuracy from three-point range and the injuries he’s faced this season. He attempts 6.4 fouls shots per 36 minutes, the best mark on the team this season and about the same free throw rate he posted in each of the last two seasons.
That’s it for now. We’ll be all over the Spurs game later today.