The Celtics practiced inside their Waltham Facility today for the first time since the All-Star Break, and in all likelihood, the last time until the playoffs. Best news of the day? Ray Allen was on the floor and felt good.
Allen, “My legs felt great today. I had a shot in the ankle on game day the other day, and I had all day to let it maneuver through my body, and today when I walked in, I felt like I had two new wheels.”
But will he play for the first time since March 22nd tomorrow night against the San Antonio Spurs? Here is what Doc Rivers had to say about that. “Ray went through the entire practice, that still doesn’t mean he will play tomorrow. Because the practice could effect his ankle and he can’t play tomorrow, so… but right now he’s playing.”
The Celtics are 5-1 playing without Allen recently and riding a 5 game winning streak as they hit the stretch run of the season. (14 games left with the next 11 over a 14 day span). Avery Bradley has started in place of Allen and is gaining more confidence by the game. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game during the recent winning streak. But it didn’t take Doc long to answer the question on whether or not Ray would be in the starting lineup on his return.
Reporter, “If Ray does play, do you plan to start him?”
Doc, “Yeah, I do.”
Ok then. Although Doc did admit that he considered the idea of having Ray Allen come off the bench. And depending on how things go the next couple of weeks it would not shock me to see Avery Bradley back in the starting lineup. The depth has been tested on this team, and maybe Allen being the go-to scorer of the bench wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Speaking of depth. Mickael Pietrus was at practice today, he watched some of it. The backup swingman still hasn’t gone through any of the concussion tests, therefore there is still no real timetable for his return.
Doc on seeing Pietrus today, “He looked great today. First day I actually saw him without sunglasses and a hoody. He just looked better. He actually looked alert today. And he walked in and yelled ‘I feel better.’ So I don’t know what the hell that means. Honestly I saw him the other day and he didn’t look so good, and today he looked so much better. So I’m hoping it keeps going that way, but none of us know with concussions. They take their own course and we have to wait for it to do that.”
At least the news seems to be a little better regarding Pietrus. However the original thought that he would miss the rest of the regular season still seems pretty likely.
As for the game tomorrow night, the Celtics host the 2 seed from the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs (36-14).
Paul Pierce on the Spurs, “Obviously they got their big 3 in Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan. They just seem like they are not going to go away over the past 10-12 years. They still are a team to be reckon with. They got one of the best records in the league. They are playing well right now, and they’re a team that no one is really talking about right now. But they are always going to be dangerous.”
The Celtics have won 5 in a row, but the Spurs have a current NBA-best 7 game streak. San Antonio is in Cleveland tonight before arriving at the TD Garden tomorrow.
Rich Keefe writes the “Around the NBA” and “5 Questions With…” columns for CelticsHub.com. He is also the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. You can follow him on twitter: @Keefe21