West’s return is delayed, but Pierce is fine
Delonte West’s return to the lineup has been delayed after he reinjured his right wrist in practice Tuesday.
West, who broke the wrist Nov. 24 in a win over the Nets, was scheduled to return for last night’s game against New Jersey. Instead, he could be back for the Celtics’ visit to Golden State Tuesday.
“It was a tweak,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “He was reaching for the ball and it was just bad timing.
“There’s no timetable. We’re hoping for Golden State. It was a freak injury. There is no other damage, it just set him back. He’s fine, but he’s not ready.’’
Meanwhile, Rivers said Paul Pierce has recovered from the foot injury that hampered him in a 1-point performance Sunday against Miami.
“Paul feels good,’’ Rivers said before the game. It showed, as Pierce hit 10 of 18 shots and led all scorers with 31 points in the Celtics’ 94-80 victory.
Rivers wasn’t surprised Pierce bounced back with a big effort.
“Because he’s a great player,’’ Rivers said. “Great players, it’s just they don’t have a lot of back-to-back bad games.’’
The Celtics improved their home record to 25-5. They were 24-17 at home last season.
“We talked about it going into the year,’’ Rivers said. “We knew we had a ton of injuries and we were playing guys strange minutes, but one of the things we still expected through all that last year was just to win the home games. And, we didn’t do that. So, obviously, this year has been much better.’’
Lopez locked down The Celtics held Brook Lopez (18 points) to 2 points in the final 20:51, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins alternating on him, with help from Kevin Garnett.
“I think in the second half we had a better flow of defense,’’ Garnett said. “The first quarter we came out very explosive. Doc kept stressing energy, energy. I thought for the most part we did that, didn’t sustain it. Like I said, I thought the second half we did a better job of being more consistent in what we were doing defensively.’’
Star treatment Rajon Rondo expects the fans in Los Angeles to be rooting against him and his Celtic teammates in Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center. And Rondo plans to bond with the other Eastern Conference stars, including those from the Heat, whom he clashed with during the Celtics’ victory Sunday.
“We might get booed, but it’s not going to bother me,’’ Rondo said. “Everybody on the East, I pretty much get along with. None of them play my position, so I don’t really have a beef with the Miami guys or anybody in the Eastern Conference.’’
As for huddling with the Heat players, who objected to Rondo invading their space during a stoppage Sunday, Rondo said, “We’ll let them into the huddle.’’
Man of honor Rivers on Tuesday’s awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Celtics great Bill Russell: “It’s awesome. Bill meant so much more than just basketball.
“There’s a lot of great players, the greatest player, the debate goes on. But there’s very few of them — Arthur Ashe, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King — just a lot of different people who have not only been great sports figures but great for our country.’’
Added Ray Allen, “He’s the cornerstone of what this franchise has embodied. He’s done so much, not only for this organization and the black athlete in sports. More than just basketball.
“It was at a time when basketball wasn’t really popular but you’re fighting for civil rights, you had to stick together. Nowadays, as a black athlete, we have causes we stand up for and foundations.
“But how much do guys stand up for things they believe in? How many guys would exist back in the day and have a voice and stand for something, if you had to deal with what Bill Russell had to deal with, and Jim Brown had to deal with?
“They paved the way for everything that we do today.’’
Nets, Anthony talking In the ongoing drama that is the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, ESPN reported yesterday that the Nets resumed negotiations recently. “New Jersey has come back strong,’’ a source with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN. “They really want Anthony.’’ The trade deadline is Feb. 24 . . . Allen on the upcoming matchup with Pierce in the 3-point contest: “Paul’s been talking all day. If you ask Paul, he’ll tell you that when I won, it was 10 years ago and everything’s changed since then. I’m a dinosaur in the game so I don’t stand a chance, I don’t know the formula now. I’m sure it’s just shooting.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.