Rivers gets his four to join the reserves
Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Rondo are All-Stars
WALTHAM — As coach of the Eastern Conference team in this month’s All-Star Game, Doc Rivers said he was hoping to put four of his Celtics on the floor at the same time. Following the announcement last night of the reserve players added to the rosters, Rivers can begin figuring out who that fifth player will be.
Kevin Garnett matched an NBA record with his 14th consecutive All-Star selection, and the Celtics tied a league record by having four players named as reserves. Paul Pierce (ninth All-Star appearance), Ray Allen (10th), and Rajon Rondo (second) were also picked to represent the East in the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Garnett joins Jerry West, Karl Malone, and current Celtics teammate Shaquille O’Neal with 14 straight All-Star nods. The only other time four teammates made an All-Star team as reserves was in 2006, by the Detroit Pistons.
Before the reserves were announced, Rivers had said he expected Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo to make the team. League coaches selected the reserves, and couldn’t vote for their own players.
“I think I should get four guys on the roster,’’ said Rivers. “And if I do, I’m just going to play them all together. That way we can run [our] offense in the All-Star Game, that’d be a first.
“You look at the four guys, all of them have really sacrificed individual accomplishments for wins, and sometimes that’s held against them. That’s what makes it so difficult; any one guy is out, it hurts our team, and that’s why we’re a team.’’
Rivers on the coaches’ vote: “What is unusual is I didn’t get a lot of calls. Usually you get a lot of calls from coaches asking to vote for their guys. I thought that was strange.
“Voting for four other guys was very difficult. Take our four guys off and try to make an Eastern Conference team, it’s very difficult.
“I’ve always thought it was more special to be voted in by your peers. The fan vote is nice, but I’ve always thought it was really nice when the coaches recognize you. They’re telling you that you’re an All-Star.’’
Asked about a West team having to face an East lineup consisting of four Celtics and Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Allen said, “That would be a lineup nobody would want to see.’’
Perkins workin’ Most of the Celtics had departed after yesterday’s practice when Kendrick Perkins went to work on two of his weak points. First Perkins fired up several free throws. Then he grabbed a jump rope and went through a 15-minute session with trainer Bryan Doo. “I feel like I need to get off the floor a little better,’’ Perkins said. “That’s why I’m trying to get on the jump rope and stuff like that. I feel like it will come around — just timing on blocking shots and stuff like that.’’ Perkins totaled 22 points and 29 rebounds in 93 minutes during the recent four-game road trip. And he shot 6 of 10 from the foul line. The minutes he played were most surprising, as he returns from knee surgery. “I feel good,’’ Perkins said. “I thought we had a good road trip as a team, played well and won three — that’s a good thing.’’ O’Neal started the last three games at center but missed yesterday’s practice with an Achilles’ injury, Rivers said. Semih Erden started the last time O’Neal was unavailable (88-78 win Jan. 27 at Portland). But Perkins’s health is improving rapidly and he could be considered for a start when the Celtics host Dallas tonight. “I’m just going to keep putting in the hard work and just keep going from there,’’ Perkins said. “I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m happy to be where I’m at. I actually didn’t want to come out of the game. I thought I was going to be out of shape a little bit, and I am a little bit. But I can be playing 24-25 minutes right now.’’
Not forcing it Delonte West (right wrist) participated in “skeleton’’ drills and said he hopes to return to action before the All-Star break. “If not, I’ll definitely be ready to go the start of the second half of the season,’’ West said. West missed a CAT scan appointment as the team’s return from Sacramento was delayed. “Each day it’s getting better, feeling comfortable, doing a little bit more,’’ West said. “I was shooting layups and catching passes today. It’s still a little sore, but I’m hoping any day now I can get cleared to start practicing. Looks can be deceiving — I’m catching passes and dribbling, but I’m not doing anything with a lot of force. Force gives me discomfort. Either way, I’m going to have to play with a little discomfort.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.