WALTHAM --- Paul Pierce tested his sprained right knee when he engaged teammate Sam Cassell in a lively game of 1-on-1 this morning during the Celtics' shootaround at the team's practice facility at HealthPoint. The sight of Pierce spinning and driving hard to the basket only served to confirm Pierce's status to coach Doc Rivers, who proclaimed the Celtics' captain was ready to play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at TD Banknorth Garden.
``You could see he had some movement in the shooting drills [this morning] and that he felt comfortable,'' Rivers said of Pierce. ``And Eddie [Lacerte, the team's athletic trainer] said this morning he thought Paul would be ready to play tonight.''
Kendrick Perkins, meanwhile, was another matter. His sprained left ankle was still bothering him, meaning he'd likely be a game-time decision.
``Perk, again, I don't know, but Paul will be ready to play,'' Rivers said. ``Perk, we didn't even let him shoot. We sat him down.''
As Rivers spoke, Pierce was on the practice court, driving hard to the hoop against Cassell.
``We wanted him to do this,'' Rivers said, nodding to Pierce on the court. ``I think he needs to play a little bit, just to see what he can do.''
Rivers said if Perkins was unable to go, then reserve veteran P.J. Brown would likely get the start at center.