BOSTON -- Maybe this injury thing is a bit overrated.
On Wednesday, the Celtics had a full roster, were in a great frame of mind, and got blown out by 32. On Friday, Doc Rivers discovered he would be without Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox, and the shorthanded Celtics went out and beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-86.
It wasn’t nearly that close. The Celtics led by 43 in the third and sort of skidded coming home, getting outscored 32-16 in the fourth quarter.
Pietrus sat out with a sore right knee but said after the game that he is planning to play Sunday and for the remainder of the eight-game road trip. “I guarantee you I will play the whole trip,’’ he said.
Pietrus has missed only two games since debuting with the Celtics on Jan. 11.
As for Wilcox, he, too, was at TD Garden and was listed as DNP-Coach’s Decision on the box score. Rivers said Wilcox’s absence was due to personal reasons. When asked before the game if he was all right, Wilcox said, “I am going to see them now.” He was otherwise unenlightening. It was the 11th game Wilcox has missed this season, but the first for personal reasons.
With those two out, playing time and opportunity surfaced for all concerned. Greg Stiemsma logged a season-high 28 minutes off the bench while Sasha Pavlovic had a season-high 10 points. Avery Bradley matched his season high of 12 points and also had 5 assists in 22 minutes. E’Twaun Moore made a rare appearance and contributed 5 points in the final 5 minutes of garbage time.
L.A. BOUND -- The Celtics’ next game is Sunday afternoon against the Lakers, and Rivers said that is the single scariest game of the trip. And it has nothing to do with the opponent, which happens to be the Lakers. “I don’t like the first game,’’ he said. “You lose an hour (to Daylight Savings Time). You play at 12:30 (PDT). You fly seven hours. We’ll try to do something in a [hotel] ballroom somewhere.”
UPS AND DOWNS -- The one silver lining in the Wednesday/Friday blowouts is that the starters sat for the fourth quarters in both games ... Rajon Rondo had some fun with reporters after Friday's game, coming out early and saying he was speaking for Paul Pierce and Sasha Pavlovic. He later came out to speak for himself, sporting a red spot in his right eye, courtesy of Marcus Camby's finger. As for the upcoming trading deadline, Rondo said, “no one is worried. Whatever happens, happens. We’ve done a pretty good job of playing through the rumors so far.” Kevin Garnett seconded Rondo. “This is a business and we all know that. And if you don’t know that, you had better catch up,’’ he said. ... Paul Pierce played in his 1,000th game as a Celtic, earning a loud round of applause during a break in the first quarter. Only John Havlicek (1,270) and Robert Parish (1,106) have played in more games as a Celtic. Asked what he remembered about his first game as a Celtic (a loss at home to Toronto), Pierce said, “I remember how nervous I was. When you think back to your first game ever here in the Garden, you’re just excited to get your career started. I’ve reached 1,000 games and it’s like, 'wow.' I see a combination of a long time and getting old.”