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Celtics notebook

Physical play pushed limits

NBA is reviewing Monday incidents

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The NBA is reviewing film of the Celtics-Knicks game Monday night that included physical incidents involving most notably Boston's Paul Pierce and Tony Allen. A decision on possible discipline could be made today.

When the Celtics' Ray Allen fell hard after being fouled by Jamal Crawford with 4:55 left in the third quarter, his teammates on the floor immediately ran to Allen's defense in Boston's intense 94-87 exhibition loss in New York. Pierce grabbed Crawford's chin during the commotion under the basket, but nothing further happened.

Tony Allen also seemed to shove Knicks guard Nate Robinson after they got tangled up with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter.

Before the Celtics' 82-71 exhibition loss to the Nets last night at the Izod Center, coach Doc Rivers didn't seem overly concerned about the investigation since nobody from the NBA called for interviews. Director of basketball operations Danny Ainge also didn't think it would be a problem.

"I don't worry about it," Rivers said. "There is nothing we can do about it anyway. Of course they are going to look at it. That's what they should do."

"There is nothing there," said Ainge.

Forward James Posey is already slated to serve a one-game suspension during the Celtics' season opener against Washington Nov. 2 at TD Banknorth Garden for pleading no contest to reckless driving.

Posey's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said yesterday he hopes to get a response from the players' union about a potential appeal by week's end. But NBA commissioner David Stern didn't indicate there was much chance of Posey's situation changing when asked about it recently.

"I'm working on it with the [NBA]," Bartelstein said. "They are pretty tough on these things."

Mavericks forward Josh Howard recently was suspended two regular-season games without pay for his involvement in an altercation with Kings center Brad Miller. But, as opposed to what Pierce or Tony Allen did Monday night, Howard ran across the court, struck Miller in the back of the head with his forearm, pushed him in the back, and struggled with other Kings players.

Taking a break

Rivers gave starters Ray Allen, Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins, the night off. The Nets' star trio of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter didn't travel to a game against the Celtics last Friday in Worcester . . . Perkins has been hampered with what he described as a mildly pulled left hamstring and missed his third straight exhibition. The center likely will sit out the preseason finale against visiting Cleveland Friday. "I'm not worried," Perkins said. But Rivers indicated some concern before the game. One main reason the coach is worried is that the backup, newcomer Scot Pollard, has yet to even participate in practice because of a sprained left ankle. The 6-foot-11-inch, 278-pounder has been doing some light running on the treadmill and could have limited involvement in practice tomorrow. Rivers expects Pollard to be available for the opener . . . Rivers said cuts from the 16-man roster probably won't be made until next week. Rookie guard Jackie Manuel isn't expected to make it, and the team could keep both guard Dahntay Jones and rookie forward Brandon Wallace or cut one.

Big night for Davis

Rookie forward Glen Davis admitted he has doubted himself "a little bit" lately. But the ex-Louisiana State star did get a confidence boost last night, scoring a game-high 21 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and blocking a game-high 3 shots in 32 minutes. "It felt good out there playing against guys that are starting for their team, helping, giving my team a boost," Davis said. Tony Allen had a game-high nine assists while playing some point guard, but he also missed 13 of 15 shots and two dunks, one wide-open. "By the time I got up, there wasn't enough strength in my legs," said Allen, who played 42 minutes and is coming off knee surgery. "Next time I'll lay it up."

Cover story

Sports Illustrated has Allen, Garnett, and Pierce on the cover of its NBA preview issue. The magazine also picked the Celtics as the Eastern Conference's top team, but has Dallas defeating Detroit in the NBA Finals. SI also projected Rivers as Coach of the Year, Ainge Executive of the Year, Pierce first-team All-NBA, and Garnett second-team All-NBA. ESPN the Magazine also has Boston on its NBA preview cover. "People anoint you stuff that you shouldn't be anointed to," Rivers said. "I'm excited to have our guys on the Sports Illustrated cover. But shouldn't [reigning NBA champion] San Antonio be on the cover?" . . . Ray Allen's longtime girlfriend, Shannon Williams; ex-NBA player Mark Jackson's wife, Desiree Coleman-Jackson; and ex-NBA player Kenny Smith's wife, Gwendolyn Smith, are slated to perform together on an R&B song for Kenny Smith's annual NBA All-Star Weekend party mix tape. It hasn't been recorded yet. Williams is an actress, songwriter, runs a start-up record label, and used to sing for the Motown group Shades. Allen said Williams sang the national anthem when he played for Milwaukee, but there aren't any current plans for her to do it in Boston.

Marc J. Spears can be reached at mspears@globe.com

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