Celtics notebook

Crucial decision rested with him

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / April 16, 2012
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The moment Paul Pierce jammed his left big toe late in the Celtics’ victory over the Nets Saturday night, coach Doc Rivers decided that Pierce would spend an extra evening in New York.

And when Kevin Garnett left the win over the Nets after a 21-point, 12-rebound performance, Rivers decided that Garnett, too, deserved another night in Manhattan.

With Ray Allen already ruled out with a sore right ankle, it seemed the Celtics might be facing a tough task Sunday night without their Big Three against the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.

But with Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley each scoring 22 points and Rajon Rondo adding 20 points and 16 assists, Boston prevailed, 94-82.

Pierce and Garnett stayed at the team’s hotel in New York, where the Celtics returned early Monday morning in preparation for Tuesday’s game with the Knicks. Allen, who was rehabilitating his sore right ankle in Boston, remains “50-50’’ to play against the Knicks, according to Rivers.

With five games left in the season and three games in four nights beginning Tuesday, Rivers wanted to give his veterans a night off. The hope had been for Allen to be available but his ankle has been slow to recover.

“When Paul hurt his foot toward the end of the game, that pretty much took care of Paul,’’ Rivers said. “Having all three out [was not the plan] and it obviously hurts our offense.’’

Pierce’s left foot is not a concern, according to Rivers.

“Whenever you jam your toes, you don’t want that going down the bad road,’’ the coach said. “Right when he did I had made up my mind, he was not playing [Sunday]. Rest is key, it’s the whole key.

“I’ve said it a hundred times, what I don’t like about this season is some of the games have been decided by endurance. It has nothing to do with who’s the better team on given nights; that should never happen. We signed up for it, it’s not like we didn’t know it.’’

Rivers said he would rest other players if they need it. Rondo, who played 43 minutes Sunday, said he wants to play the remaining five games.

“I don’t know, I’ve already been out 10 games this year,’’ he said, referring to the wrist injury his suffered in January. “I feel fine.’’

Hollins a mystery

Ryan Hollins was acquired by the Celtics to provide depth in the frontcourt, but his impact has been minimal so far. He had fallen out of Rivers’s rotation until Sunday, when he was the primary backup to Stiemsma.

Hollins scored 2 points and had four rebounds in a season-high 20 minutes, but his reputation has followed him to Boston.

Hollins has a habit for picking up offensive fouls on illegal screens or with reckless play under the basket. In 3 minutes, 31 seconds Saturday against the Nets, he picked up four fouls and had three turnovers.

In 11 games with the Celtics, Hollins has 24 combined turnovers and fouls and 25 points.

“He plays hard, he just does things that get him in trouble,’’ Rivers said. “The extra stuff with the picks and stuff like that. He has a chance. He’s a big body. He’s very active; having an active big is great because half the bigs are not active. So he has that in him. We just have to figure out him still. And he needs gym time, and unfortunately he doesn’t have that.

“But I think he’s a guy you invest time into because he has a chance to be a good player in our league.’’

Crossing their Ts

The Bobcats’ Paul Silas and Rivers are tied for the NBA lead for coaches with eight technical fouls . . . Rondo picked up his team-leading eighth technical arguing a non-foul on a missed layup to end the half . . . The Bobcats were missing Corey Maggette (right Achilles’ tendon strain), Eduardo Najera (frontal orbital bone fracture), and DeSagana Diop (left Achilles’ tendon strain) . . . Stiemsma’s last start was Jan. 2 against the Wizards, when he scored 13 points with two blocked shots in 21 minutes . . . The 11 3-pointers attempted by Mickael Pietrus (he made three) were his most since he tried 11 while with the Magic Nov. 12, 2010, against Toronto. He converted eight of those.

Gary Washburn can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe

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