Celtics notebook

Garnett still iffy for show

Paul Pierce gets past ex-Celtics mate Ryan Gomes. Paul Pierce gets past ex-Celtics mate Ryan Gomes. (JIM MONE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / February 9, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS - There is a 50-50 chance injured Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will play in the All-Star Game next weekend.

Doc Rivers, coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars, said yesterday that Garnett would need to play by Wednesday against New York to prove he is healthy enough to play in the All-Star Game a week from tomorrow in New Orleans.

After sitting out last night's 88-86 win over Minnesota, Garnett has missed six straight games with an abdominal strain. Rivers said he doubted Garnett will play tomorrow against San Antonio, but it was possible he could return for "maybe the last two games prior" to All-Star Weekend.

"If he can play, he's going to play," Rivers said about the All-Star Game. "If he's hurt, he's not going to play. Right now, I say it's 50-50."

Said director of basketball operations Danny Ainge: "Kevin is going to be fine. It's just a matter of when."

Cassell suspended

Clippers guard Sam Cassell was suspended without pay for last night's game against Toronto (won by the Clippers, 102-98) for committing a flagrant-2 foul by hitting Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo in the head, the NBA announced. Cassell's foul occurred with 2:54 left in the second quarter of the Celtics' 111-100 win over the Clippers Wednesday at TD Banknorth Garden.

"I wasn't [angry] at all," Cassell told the Orange County Register about the foul. "I've never been a dirty ballplayer to go out and try to take guys out."

Rondo said he was interviewed by the NBA about the incident Thursday and he wasn't bothered by Cassell's foul. "It didn't bother me," Rondo said. "It was just a hard foul. That's all."

Big Baby on Brady

John Brady, who coached Celtics rookie forward Glen Davis at Louisiana State, was fired yesterday. Davis played for the Tigers from 2004-07 and plans on attending LSU's game against Kentucky in his native Baton Rouge, La., a week from today.

"That's bad. I'm sorry to hear that," said Davis. "Coach Brady was a great coach. Things weren't happening the way [LSU] wanted it to happen as far as winning games."

Davis endorsed LSU associate head coach Butch Pierre, who will take over for the rest of the season. Davis said he planned on calling Pierre this weekend.

"[Pierre's] the guy who recruited [me], Stromile [ Swift], Tyrus [Thomas], and Brandon Bass, a lot of great players that have come through LSU," said Davis. "Now to have a chance to show your coaching skills on an elite level, I know he is probably really, really excited. He's ready and I honestly feel the players are going to walk on water for him. He's a father figure to a lot of the players."

Perkins injured

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins (1 point, five rebounds) left the game for good with one minute left in the third quarter with a strained left shoulder. He will be evaluated today. Although Rivers expressed concern over the injury after the game, Perkins told team director of media relations Jeff Twiss he felt fine . . . The Wolves sold the Celtics game as part of a minimum two-game package, but gave each attending fan a free future game voucher since Garnett didn't play . . . University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Tubby Smith visited with Rondo and the Celtics' coaching staff after the game. Rondo played for Smith at Kentucky. Smith also had gone to lunch with Celtics assistant Kevin Eastman. Smith and Eastman were assistant coaches together at Virginia Commonwealth . . . With the trade deadline Feb. 21 at 3 p.m., the Celtics don't seem to have any hot discussions right now. When asked about the deadline, Ainge said: "I'm very happy with the team. But we still pick up the phone and will be listening to anything tempting." . . . Rondo and Paul Pierce have committed to play in the Zo and Magic's 8-Ball Challenge celebrity pool tournament Thursday during All-Star festivities in New Orleans. Pierce won the tournament in 2005 in Denver . . . Davis will be competing against the likes of San Antonio's Tony Parker, Memphis's Rudy Gay, and Utah's Deron Williams in the EA Sports NBA Live 08 video game tournament Thursday in New Orleans . . . Rivers said he was hopeful the bug that has hampered his team of late was gone.

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