Rivers says injuries won’t affect lineup

Times Staff Writer

They’re aching, but they’re starting.

Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said Saturday that he expects Paul Pierce (sprained right knee), Rajon Rondo (bruised left ankle) and Kendrick Perkins (left shoulder strain) to all be in the starting lineup at Staples Center tonight when his team, up 3-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, tries to finish off the Lakers.

Rivers did, however, hold Perkins, who was injured Thursday night in Game 4, out of practice Saturday.

“He’s moving his arms and shoulders pretty well,” Rivers said. “We won’t know [for sure] until [this afternoon], but right now, I think everything looks good.”


Pierce discounted a rumor he is facing off-season surgery for the injury, which he suffered in Game 1.

“No one has said anything about surgery,” he said. “I kind of aggravated it in [Game 4]. It hasn’t gotten too much worse, but it hasn’t gotten any better either. I really don’t know how bad it is. I won’t know until we end this thing, and that’s why I hope I don’t get hurt and we end it [today] and then we’ll see.”

A hard day’s night

Rivers put Pierce on Kobe Bryant for the entire second half of Game 4 in which the Celtics made the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, rebounding from a 24-point deficit to win.

So is it safe to assume Pierce will be in Bryant’s face full time tonight?

“One guy will not guard Kobe Bryant,” Rivers said. “It’s too hard. It’s too much work and it takes all the energy out of that one guy. We’ve used three guys -- we are capable of using four with Tony Allen -- and it will probably stay the same.”

Another championship

for Inglewood?

Pierce has spent a decade in Boston, often a leading man without a supporting cast. Now he has a chance to not only win his first championship, but to do so back where he began the journey at Inglewood High.

“To win it will be special,” he said. “To win it at home would be unreal. You know, this is where I picked up the sport. This is where I got into the game, watching the Celtics and the Lakers. . . . I wish it was the Forum, but unfortunately, it’s not, but just to win it here in your hometown is something that people are going to remember years and years down the road.

“If we were playing somebody else in the Finals, people may forget, but just being right here at home, it’s going to be something we’re going to talk about for as long as I’m alive.”

Quote of the day

Asked to compare himself with the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony, Pierce replied, “I’ve never gotten a DUI.”