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CELTICS FYI

Pierce calls injury 'sort of embarrassing'

June 07, 2008|Jonathan Abrams | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce heard a pop and had a thought.

His NBA Finals, in a wisp and a crash, were over. An arena and this city collectively leaned in the same direction.

Despite Lakers Coach Phil Jackson hinting otherwise, Pierce says he was aching, not faking, when he went down in the third quarter of the NBA Finals Game 1 against the Lakers with a sprained right knee.

Enough so that if there had been a game Friday, Pierce said he would have been on the sidelines watching. Instead he, along with the rest of the Celtics, took the day off to watch video, soaking up their victory and looking to heal fast.

"I think there's a great chance I'll play on Sunday, just knowing myself, knowing my threshold for pain," Pierce said of his odds in playing in Game 2 of the Finals.

Pierce scored 15 of his 22 points in the third quarter, the points flanked by the injury. He bumped into teammate Kendrick Perkins at the 6:49 point, was carried off the court and returned less than two minutes later.

"It was crazy to me because I've never been carried off the court, and it was like, man, I said, 'I have to be close to death or blood everywhere for me to get carried off,' " Pierce said, adding that he took four pain relievers.

"It was sort of embarrassing, truthfully. I should have just laid there for five more minutes and then got up. Hopefully it won't happen again. If I get carried off the next time, there's no way I'm going to come back."

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said there was no structural damage in Pierce's knee.

"He didn't have to tell me a lot," Rivers said Friday. "I talked to him, though, and just watching him walk, you can see he's . . . It's tender, it's still, it's swollen a little bit."

Pierce will receive two or three treatments on the knee a day leading up to Sunday.

He acknowledged that the injury "could be bad," but that he will wait until the series ends to have an MRI exam.

"I mean, what is it really going to tell us?" he said. "The extent of the injury, but at this point with two weeks left, six games to go, we can figure this out after the season."

Injury No. 2

Emotionally, Game 1 was pretty big for the Celtics.

Physically was another matter.

Perkins, the Celtics starting center who is more a space eater than scorer, was also among the Celtics attending to his ailments Friday.

He rolled his ankle in the third quarter and told Rivers he was about 60% at the time. How he exactly reached that percentage, Rivers isn't sure.

All the same, it hadn't improved much over an evening, but Perkins still expects to play in Game 2.

"You know, there's going to be pain," he said. "It's the Finals, so you've got to suck it up."

Free throw magnet

Almost stealthily, but quite efficiently, second-year point guard Rajon Rondo played well in his Finals debut.

Rondo carved his way for 15 points and seven assists, while attempting 10 free throws, the most of any player.

"I'd have to say the pressure is not on me," Rondo said. "Those are our big three All-Stars [in Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen], and I'm just out there playing defense basically.

"If I score, it's a bonus, and if I do anything it's a bonus. I go out there and play defense and try to bring energy to the game, and I'll be pretty good."

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com

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NBA Finals

Boston leads series, 1-0

All games 6 p.m Pacific, Ch. 7

LAKERS VS. BOSTON

Game 1: at Boston 98, Lakers 88

Game 2: Sunday at Boston

Game 3: Tuesday at Staples Center

Game 4: Thursday at Staples Center

Game 5: June 15 at Staples Center*

Game 6: June 17 at Boston*

Game 7: June 19 at Boston*

* if necessary

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