Celtics notebook

Garnett decision is coming Friday

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / March 18, 2009
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CHICAGO - It won't be determined until Friday morning, on the floor of the AT&T Center in San Antonio, whether the long-awaited return of Kevin Garnett to the Celtics will come that night against the Spurs.

Coach Doc Rivers has been saying that he expects the injured All-Star to return for that game. But after more consideration, Rivers said prior to last night's 127-121 loss to the Bulls that a determination will be made during Friday's shootaround.

Garnett has been sidelined since Feb. 19, when he sprained his right knee at Utah, and has yet to practice. Rivers will need convincing before he lets Garnett suit up.

"That's going to be very difficult for me to play him, although obviously, we need to play him in those games," said Rivers. "Right now, someone has to convince me if that's good."

In any case, Rivers doubts Garnett would play in back-to-back games at San Antonio and Memphis Friday and Saturday.

Whenever he returns, Rivers said, Garnett will play with the starters. Minutes, however, are to be determined.

"That would be difficult for me to put him on the floor in either one of those games," Rivers said. "I know I won't play him in both of those games if he comes back.

"Unless the shootaround is better than I expect Friday morning, I don't know how we play a guy that hasn't played [since Feb. 19]. I think that's difficult, but we'll see.

"I just thought about it more. I haven't thought about it a whole bunch. We're getting closer to the date. We'll see. We'll find it out."

Rivers said there is a possibility Glen Davis will return tonight against Miami; if not then, definitely Friday. Davis has been hampered by a right ankle sprain.

Rivers ejected
With the Celtics trailing the Bulls, 124-119, following a timeout with 29.8 seconds left, Rivers received his second technical foul and was ejected. He said he was baited by referee Bill Kennedy.

"The technical on which I got thrown out was the most unprofessional technical by a ref I've ever had," Rivers said. "He stood there and goaded me and goaded me and stared at me.

"Look at the film. I actually walked away. He asked me, 'Where do you want the ball?' And I said, 'Ask them,' talking about my players. That's my right to say that, and he walked away.

"He stood there and stared me down and stared me down and goaded me until I turned around and said, 'What?' That's when I got thrown out of the game. In a [5-point] game? Think about that."

Kennedy was unavailable for comment.

Home for holiday?
St. Patrick's Day celebrations don't get much bigger than they do in Boston and Chicago. But the Celtics haven't had a St. Patrick's game at home since 2004 and have played on the road on the holiday four straight years. Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck said yesterday via e-mail that the franchise has formally requested to the NBA that it play at home next season.

"I like the fact that these two teams play on St. Patrick's Day," said Rivers, a Chicago native. "I don't know that any two cities celebrate it more than these two. They paint the river green here.

"I think we should do it every St. Pat's. But I would like a couple in Boston. But it's probably safer not to. The bars are doing well."

The Celtics are 12-1 on St. Patrick's Day at home and are 9-9 on the road.

MVP? Not Pierce
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade have been the most widely mentioned names in the Most Valuable Player race. While Paul Pierce is the leading scorer on one of the best teams in the league, his name hasn't been mentioned, but he said he isn't surprised. "Those guys are playing at a different level as far as individual numbers," said Pierce. "I'm not even close. That's not even something I'm trying to play for."

All atwitter
Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva was scolded by coach Scott Skiles after Skiles learned that Villanueva posted an online message to his Twitter from his mobile phone during halftime of Sunday's 86-77 win against Boston. Using the screen name "CV31," Villanueva posted: "In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up." The former University of Connecticut star then scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Several of the younger Celtics players either said they were not involved or never heard of Twitter, and scoffed at Villanueva's move. Rivers said, "I have no comment. A new generation, clearly. Instead of doing an after-third-quarter [on TV], we'll have to Twitter."

Marc J. Spears can be reached at

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