<
>

Pregame: Allen out for Game 1

ATLANTA -- Celtics guard Ray Allen is out for Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Hawks.

Allen went through a pregame warm-up on the court at Philips Arena, but simply is not ready to dive back into action due to a balky right ankle. Earlier in the day at the team's shootaround, he expressed hesitation in getting back on the court if his lingering ankle soreness made him a liability, particularly given the increased intensity of playoff basketball. Despite his absence, Rivers remains confident he will play moving forward.

"It’s going to be day-to-day, game-to-game," said Rivers. "That’s just what it is."

The Celtics will lean heavy on Mickael Pietrus in the shooting guard role off the bench, but Rivers noted the team could also call on lesser-utilized players like Sasha Pavlovic, E'Twaun Moore, or Keyon Dooling. With Pietrus able to shuffle to the small forward position, it could be on one of those players to step up in Allen's absence.

In other pregame news:

* Playing without Zaza Pachulia (foot injury), the Hawks will go with a small lineup of Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Jason Collins. Said Rivers: "That was expected; they are going to go small as well. That's what makes them so good, really, is that they have their ability to be versatile. We just have to be on top of them when they do [go small] -- we need to match up, or try to take advantage of them when they go smaller." Rivers said one of the keys to the entire series could be how Brandon Bass fares against bigs with ability to both stretch the floor and work off the dribble.

* After reporters went quiet after only a few questions, Rivers elicited laughter when he noted: "You guys are ready for Game 2, I can tell. Talked out, tired, tired of hearing me. You know what you’ve become? My players."