After being held without a field goal over nearly 40 minutes in Sunday's win, Celtics captain Paul Pierce revealed that he is battling pain in his right hand and left ankle, the latter of which will require an MRI on Monday.
"I sprained my hand in practice [Saturday] and I hit it today," Pierce said. "I've just got to get my foot checked out [Monday]. I'm going to get an MRI on it and go from there."
Pierce missed all 10 shots he attempted Sunday, only the fourth time in his career he's been held without a bucket and the first time since Dec. 13, 2000, when he went 0 for 7 with nine points over 31 minutes during a visit from Chicago. The only comparable shooting night of his career came on March 2, 1999 when Pierce was 0 for 11 with two points over 25 minutes in Cleveland.
On Sunday, Pierce finished with one point, while adding five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
"Right now, I'm just battling a couple minor injuries to my hand and my foot," Pierce said. "So I think that really explains my tentativeness and my off shooting today. I told [Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers] that I really didn’t have it today, but I just tried to grind it out and thank goodness we came out with a win.”
Pierce made up for his poor shooting by playing solid defense while paired opposite Miami's LeBron James for much of the game. James, who entered Sunday's meeting with an NBA all-time best 31.1 points per game average against Boston, was limited to 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting over 43:28.
“We struggled offensively, so [defense is] where we hang our hat, and that’s pretty much all I could do today was on the defensive end, just trying to slide my feet," Pierce said. "But, hey, me playing the way I did and us coming out with the win, I mean this is a big win for us."
Pierce is one of Boston's ironmen, having appeared in all 53 games this season. He's battled minor bumps and bruises, including a sprained right ankle suffered in Toronto in early January and a right knee bruise suffered earlier this month in Portland. Pierce also tweaked an ankle in late January against the Cleveland Cavaliers, heading to the locker room early that night, but suggested after Sunday's game that the current issue stemmed from an incident last week.
The Celtics played Sunday's game with only 10 available bodies, while Nate Robinson (bruised right knee) was limited to 4:45 of action.
--WEST READY FOR POTENTIAL WEDNESDAY RETURN--
After lobbying unsuccessfully to return to game action before Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Celtics reserve guard Delonte West took it a step further Sunday, showing up in game gear for the team's morning walkthrough on the Garden floor.
Rivers was having none of it.
"He tried to temp me, wearing his entire gear in shootaround today," said Rivers. "It was a good message for me ... We’re going to try to play him on Wednesday [vs. the New Jersey Nets], get him some minutes. That will go by how well he can get through [Monday]’s practice, which will be very little, then Tuesday’s practice. Then hopefully we'll play him some minutes."
West said he appreciates the team protecting him, but is eager to resume game action having appeared in only five contests this year.
"I want to play, I'm a player," West said. "We've been trained for this, to play through injury, mini-injuries. I think they're looking more at the big picture. They don't want to get me out there and get injured right before the finish line. A few more days, then I'll be going full tilt."
West said he still hasn't endured a real solid blow to the wrist yet, but noted the most important thing is that the bone has "pretty much healed." He said that while he is a bit nervous about that first hit, the adrenaline from being back on the floor should make that a nonfactor.
As for limitations with the wrist, West noted that he doesn't have full range of motion quite yet and that might limit some of his passing and his ability to complete right-handed layups. But he's not concerned.
"Actually, I didn’t shoot layups with my right hand before the injury anyway," West said. "I normally average one [right-handed layup] per year and I think I made a right-handed layup already -- I remember it, the Toronto game -- so I’m good for the year. I didn’t need it anyway."
West said playing in Wednesday's game would give him a morale boost heading into the All-Star break, especially since his return wasn't initially projected until after the break.
"It would help tremendously, knowing that I'm back," West said. "Maybe I'm not 100 percent, but being back part of this team, being part of the flow -- maybe even Doc yelling at me a little bit. There's nothing like being out there in a game-time situation."
--BABY'S FAILED DUNK ATTEMPT SPARKS HIS BIG NIGHT--
Glen Davis can't convert a fast-break dunk.* Escaping with a narrow win made Boston able to laugh about all the first-half layups it missed, including a particular head-shaking dunk attempt by Glen Davis.
Early in the second quarter, Davis stripped Dwyane Wade and streaked in alone on the break. Boston's 6-foot-9 forward/center seemed conflicted between a layup and a dunk, then attempted the latter only to be denied by the rim. Fortunately, just about everybody in the arena found humor in the situation, including Davis.
"I missed it. I went up the wrong way, too," Davis said. "I can’t wait to see it on ESPN's Not Top 10, that was a classic one. I was laughing. I’m glad it happened because it kind of got me going in the game."
Added Rivers: "That goes in the dictionary as 'flat tire.' It was comical."
The entire Boston bench was laughing after the play.
"That was kind of different," said Von Wafer, who helped key Boston's bench effort (Davis and Wafer combined for all 26 points from the reserves). "I don’t think he is used to having those breakaways like that, but he made some big plays down the stretch."
Davis atoned by making two clutch free throws in the final seconds to secure the win as part of a 16-point, four-rebound effort in 29:39 off the bench.
--DANIELS RETURNS TO BOSTON BENCH--
Marquis Daniels sat on the Boston bench Sunday.* Exactly one week after suffering a bruised spinal cord in a scary on-court scene during Boston's victory over the Orlando Magic, Marquis Daniels">Marquis Daniels returned to the bench for the first time Sunday.
Daniels, who is sidelined indefinitely, wore street clothes while supporting his teammates. Before the game, Rivers didn't sound particularly optimistic about a quick return for Daniels.
"I know they're doing the test next week," Rivers said. "I don’t even know what day and I know they haven’t even found the doctors yet -- which doctors are going to do it. I would tell you this: I wouldn’t anticipate Marquis coming back any time soon."
After the game, Daniels took to Twitter and told his followers that "I'm [getting] better tweeps [thanks] for all the prayers, [I] just gotta be careful and take it one day at a time."