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O'Neal, Dooling sit out Thursday's practice

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Quick hits after the Celtics practiced Thursday at HealthPoint:

* O'Neal, Dooling sit out: Both starting center Jermaine O'Neal and backup guard Keyon Dooling did not participate in Thursday's 90-minute practice session due to knee ailments. Rivers said it was more of a rest day for O'Neal (who appeared to be hobbled by a bothersome hamstring or knee in Wednesday's game), but deemed Dooling questionable for Friday's visit from the Bulls. "They're all questionable," Rivers quipped of his veteran team. "But, yes, I think Dooling is [questionable]. I think J.O. will go."

* Daniels still battling migraines: Backup swingman Marquis Daniels practiced in limited form, but has missed two sessions this week and sat out of Wednesday's game against Dallas due to migraines. He said he's feeling "better," but could be seen holding his head in the huddles during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's tilt. "I was having bad migraines," he admitted. "It got noisy in [the Garden] last night, I heard it a little bit." He said this is the first time he's experienced the migraines and is hopeful they'll soon pass.

* Let's got the tape: Rivers said he found more positives than negatives in film review of Wednesday's loss. "We’re getting closer," he said. "Actually, I was more encouraged than discouraged. Now, the rebounding problem we have to fix, but a lot of the other things -- defensively, we’re really good until we gamble." Rivers talked at length about how gambling hurt the team, particularly late in the game, including a key 3-pointer in the closing minutes by Jason Terry in which Rajon Rondo made an ill-timed steal attempt. Overall, Rivers isn't panicked about the 4-5 start, noting, "I’m just going to warn you, it’s nine games. Don’t jump off the bridge yet."

* Dinner with Thibs: With the Bulls in town on Friday, Rivers said he hoped to meet up with former top assistant Tom Thibodeau for dinner. He did the same when the Pistons were in town, joking that Lawrence Frank gave him Detroit's game plan after too much wine. He might employ a similar strategy with Thibs (Hey, Boston is desperate for a quality win). "That worked out well," cracked Rivers. "I think I had to pay [with Lawrence]. I think Thibs is going to pay this time. He’s definitely paying for the wine."

* Loose Balls: Rivers said, for the third practice session this week, Mickael Pietrus was the best player on the floor for Boston. He marveled at the veteran swingman's ability to be such a force in Wednesday's debut. "I still didn’t think he could take it over to a game, I was surprised by that," admitted Rivers. "Because, obviously, the game is completely different, but he did." ... Rivers said that Paul Pierce's low fourth-quarter minutes were due mainly to Pietrus' inspired play. "Pietrus was playing terrific," said Rivers. "And the energy was great. That’s where Paul is great. He obviously wants to play, but he also saw that, too."