Pierce says he’ll be ready

Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- They cobbled together rebounds like the pavement in this city, pounded the paint and elbowed their way as aggressors in taking a leading role in the NBA Finals.

And Saturday, the Boston Celtics continued cobbling and charting their wounds, their prize for that effort.

If Game 1 was critical for the Celtics to set the tone for the series, tonight’s Game 2 ranks even higher with Boston looking to maintain home-court advantage before hitting the road.

“We also have to realize that after Game 2, we have three games out on the West Coast and [that] probably puts even more significance on Game 2 and getting it, and also defending home court,” forward Kevin Garnett said.

To do that, they are expected to have their two injured pieces available in Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins.


Both went through the portion of a walk-through available to the media Saturday, taking shots alongside their more able-bodied teammates.

Pierce addressed the media beforehand, a knee brace outfitted on his leg.

“Knowing my threshold for pain, to go out there and play shouldn’t be a problem,” Pierce said. " . . . I think with a little more treatment and rest, once those lights come on and the popcorn starts popping, I’ll be ready.”

He said he had received laser treatment, ice and massages, but cannot squat all the way down on the knee he injured in the third quarter Thursday.

He said he probably needs an MRI to discover the full extent of the damage but is putting it off until the end of the series and season.

“At this point I don’t even want to hear what it is, I just want to go out there and play, and after the series I’ll be more concerned with it,” he said. “But as long as I’m able to get out there and run and help my ballclub, that’s all I want to do.”

Perkins, the space-eating center, sustained a high-ankle sprain in Game 1 and sat out the fourth quarter.

He pressed on in his Dr. Perkins role Saturday, offering his self-diagnosis.

"[Friday], I felt like 60%, today it’s like 80,” he said.

And how exactly did he come up with that succinct percentage?

“It’s just the way I was feeling,” he said. “I didn’t know no other way to put it. It was either that or a one to 10.”

Tough critic

Garnett’s Game 1 stat line?

He collected 24 points and 13 rebounds, including a put-back dunk near the end of the game that crushed the Lakers’ hopes of a comeback.

His critique?

Not good. Not enough. Not for the Finals.

Garnett was particularly frustrated with his second half, in which he made only three of his 13 shots.

“Repetition, repetition, get shots up, continue to work on mechanics and that stuff, not to go away from being aggressive, stay aggressive,” Garnett said of his goals for the series.

“He’s hard on himself,” Pierce said. “That’s what you’ve got to understand about KG. He’s so hard on himself that he wants to play the perfect game. . . . We’re all like that in our ways, he’s hard on himself, and if a bad game is 24 and 13, I can’t wait until he has a good game.”