When it comes to injuries, Celtics coach Doc Rivers would rather err on the side of caution.
Guard Ray Allen missed last night's game against Charlotte with a pinched nerve in his neck. Rookie reserve forward Glen Davis missed his first game with right knee soreness. Rivers expects both to return tomorrow night at New Jersey.
"I want to be healthy at the end," Rivers said. "We don't have a lot of bodies. One thing I preach to them a ton is that everybody has to pitch in. You have to stay ready. If a guy's injured and I put him out there, I always say, 'What does that say to the guy behind him?' I'd rather play the other guys. I just think that the more we play those other guys, the better we will be at the end of the day anyway."
Rivers added that Allen felt better and looked good running and shooting during yesterday's shootaround. The seven-time All-Star has missed three games this season.
"He feels great, he said," Rivers said.
The Celtics definitely missed Allen during their 95-83 loss to the Bobcats last night. The 6-foot-5-inch, 205-pounder is averaging 18 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4 assists in 30 games and has nailed 37.6 percent of his 3-pointers.
In Ray Allen's absence, Tony Allen had 6 points on 1-of-5 shooting, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, and no 3-pointers in 28 minutes.
"We missed [Ray Allen] a lot and we can't wait for him to get back," Tony Allen said.
Said Kevin Garnett: "We missed him a lot. He's one of our better players. But when he's out, somebody else has to step up."
Pierce eyes berth
For Paul Pierce, there was only one drawback to the Celtics' acquisition of Garnett. With Garnett and Cleveland's LeBron James listed as forwards on the Eastern Conference All-Star ballot, Pierce knew his chances of being voted by the fans to start were slim.
"I didn't even have to see the ballot," said Pierce with a smile. "Once I saw that Kevin Garnett was coming to the Eastern Conference, I said, 'There goes my chance to start.' "
When the second All-Star balloting update came in last week, Garnett had an NBA-best 1,527,963 votes, James had 1,294,019, and Pierce had 352,243. But with a team-best scoring average of 21.2 points on the NBA's top club, the five-time All-Star has a very strong shot to be selected as a reserve.
"All-Star is always fun," Pierce said. "You get a chance to be around your peers and be recognized for what you've done throughout the beginning of the [season]. If I got an opportunity to make it, that will be great. But I have a bigger goal that I have with this team."
Rivers lauds SkinnerRivers said he has an "amazing amount of respect" for Boston College coach Al Skinner for developing three NBA players: Charlotte rookie forward Jared Dudley, New Jersey rookie forward Sean Williams, and Timberwolves forward Craig Smith. Dudley made his Boston pro debut last night.
"All of the guys that go in come out to be players," Rivers said. "It's not a coincidence. There are schools that are clear to me, in my opinion, that turn out to be, because of the way they play and the way they are coached, that have an upper hand with their players.
"Al plays rough, tough defense like the NBA. They're physical and he's a big coach on execution. One of the things a lot of players struggle to do on this end is execute and read. [BC players] seem to all know how to do that."
Dudley entered last night averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds, and did not score in three minutes. When asked about Skinner's influence on preparing him for the NBA, Dudley said, "We're not buddy-buddy. We don't talk on the phone all the time. I talked to him very rarely at the school. He gives you that coach relationship you're going to have in the NBA. When people come to our practices now, [they say] it could be a joke because you don't do a lot of running. That's how it is in the NBA. We shoot a lot and we scrimmage here and there. That's what we do.
"He prepared me for the NBA life, practices. You have to make your own work ethic. For someone that's lazy, you're not going to be good at BC and you're not going to be good after."
Vincent reflectsBobcats first-year coach Sam Vincent was selected by the Celtics with the 20th pick in the 1985 draft, played 103 games for Boston in two seasons, and was a part of the 1986 NBA champions.
"I never got off the bench," Vincent said. "I'm not kidding myself. I got Danny [ Ainge] and DJ [Dennis Johnson] ready for what they had to achieve."
Marc J. Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.