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Celtics notebook

Pierce’s status undetermined

He says left knee ‘is a little tender’

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / November 14, 2009

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Paul Pierce’s status for tonight’s game at Indiana had not been determined after he sustained a left knee bruise in a 97-86 loss to the Hawks last night.

“The knee is a little tender but I’m just going to rest it and, usually, it kicks in when you slow down,’’ Pierce said. “So, hopefully it’s not too bad and I’m just going to see how it feels tonight.’’

The Celtics did not have long to commiserate following their second loss of the season.

“We’ll definitely have a better outing next time we play them,’’ Rasheed Wallace said. “You can take positive things from every negative thing. It was negative that we lost the game, that we got smashed on the boards [47-29]. One thing I can say that was positive, we had 36 makes and we had [20] assists. So, you always try to take positive things and just build on them.’’

The Celtics won all four meetings with the Hawks last season and had a seven-game winning streak over Atlanta covering two regular seasons. The Hawks last defeated the Celtics in Boston Jan. 24, 2007.

Said Kevin Garnett, “They’re a different type team, they’re isolation. First time we’ve really seen isolation basketball like this. They’ve improved.

“They spread you out one-on-one, it’s a lot of isolation basketball. Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson, those are two of the best at that. Kudos to them. They beat us up.

“When you’ve got a guy going one-on-one and we’re trapping and they crash, they’ve got all four guys, those guys are keeping balls alive. Some nights it bounces your way and you get them and [last] night they were the ones to all the balls and they got easy second-chance points. And, when you get outrebounded, 47-29, that makes it difficult to win.’’

Tough transition
The last time the Celtics had back-to-back games with the second game at Indiana, the Celtics lost, 95-79.

“Before the season, the coaches look at the schedule,’’ coach Doc Rivers said, “and the first thing you look at is the four in fives [four games in five days] and what we call ‘8 and 7s.’ You hate those 8 and 7s, because the [8 p.m. start] means a TV game, which actually means a longer game. Then, you get on the plane and go wherever you have to go, and then you play 7 the next night. Less than 24 hours, long flight. It’s just a difficult one.’’

The Celtics are following the advice of Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a sleep study specialist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, by eliminating most game-day shootarounds and starting practice later.

“We’ve changed our routine so I’m hoping we’re more rested going into the game,’’ Rivers said before last night’s game. “Other than that, there’s nothing that you can do. You just try to win the first game and then be ready for the second game. Our bench is deeper and, hopefully, that will help.’’

Woodson impressed
Hawks coach Mike Woodson is giving the Celtics the highest of marks.

“I think they’re the deepest team in the league and by far the best team,’’ he said.

Part of the reason for Woodson’s assessment is the addition of Wallace.

“Rasheed’s IQ for the game is off the charts,’’ Woodson said. “I’m talking about on both ends of the floor. You guys see some of the blowups and things, but from a basketball standpoint, there’s no better power forward in the league, I don’t think. He can post it, he can shoot it, he passes, he rebounds, he blocks shots. There’s nothing he can’t do.’’

Woodson was the coach when the Hawks selected Shelden Williams with the No. 5 pick in the 2006 draft. But Williams played less than two seasons for the Hawks before being traded, landing with the Celtics this season after stops in Sacramento and Minnesota.

“In the NBA, if you play this game long enough, you’re going to do well in certain spots, sometimes it’s not going to work out, and that’s just the nature of the league,’’ Woodson said. “Shelden has moved from us to a couple of spots and he’s finally found a home and I’m happy for him.’’

“There wasn’t a problem. I just think, after his first year, we brought Al Horford in, and we started to play Al Horford. Then we made the trade to bring Mike Bibby over. It wasn’t a knock against Shelden. The organization and my staff and I decided to go in another direction and Shelden has rebounded from it and he’s landed in, I think, a wonderful situation for him.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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