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Celtics notebook

Pierce is rounding into form

Captain says team must get physical

Paul Pierce felt the pain of a 3-for-17 shooting night against the Pacers Friday. Paul Pierce felt the pain of a 3-for-17 shooting night against the Pacers Friday. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Frank Dell’Apa and Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / January 11, 2012
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WALTHAM - Paul Pierce yesterday completed a second straight day of full-speed workouts for the first time since last season. And he appeared ready to return to form as the Celtics prepared to meet Dallas tonight.

“It’s been great, just being able to step out here in practice, finally,’’ Pierce said. “We need to try and get some consistency in our game. That is still going to come as we get practices like this.

“But there are not going to be too many more practices like this, so coming out here and taking advantage of it - this is definitely a training camp for me.

“My body was really sore the last two days. We need more days like this, but, of course, the way the schedule is, we’re not going to get them, and that’s why we’re out here for two-plus hours.’’

Celtics coach Doc Rivers questioned the team’s toughness after an 87-74 loss to Indiana Friday.

“We have to be a more physical team,’’ Pierce said. “I think we play physical in spurts, where it’s something we have to do constantly. We have to be a better rebounding team, from our bigs to our guards.

“The combination of our five guys on the court has to create the toughness we need on the court. It can’t be one guy go out there and be a tough guy. It has to come from all of us.

“We don’t have a big body like [Kendrick] Perkins or a guy like Big Baby [Glen Davis], so it has to be - it doesn’t have to come in a size package. It comes in how bad do you want it? Most physical guys in boxing aren’t the biggest guys, so that doesn’t matter.’’

Pierce, who missed the first three games of the season with a heel bruise, shot 3 for 17 against the Pacers.

“I was 3 for 17?’’ Pierce said. “I have already forgotten about it.

“We know where we’re at. We’re 4-4 and that shows we’re just a .500 team. We’ve been inconsistent. That’s where we are right now, until we get better.

“It could be the schedule, could be that we didn’t get the long training camp. But, you know, everyone is in the same boat. We can’t make that as an excuse.

“We brought in our core guys, we have a lot of new faces, but a lot of teams have a lot of new faces. It’s about going out there and getting the job done and not making excuses about it.’’

The Mavericks’ record - 4-5 - does not reflect their ability, Pierce said.

“They’re defending champs and they’re probably one of the deepest teams in the league, talentwise,’’ Pierce said. “So you can’t look at their record and say that’s who they are.

“They have championship experience and lot of veteran guys who can get the job done, so they’re a lot better than what their record shows.’’

As the champ, Dallas has also been targeted.

“It makes you rise to the occasion,’’ Pierce said. “It makes you better as a unit, you take everybody’s best punch. We could hear it in the hallway, Indiana was excited. We expect that, it’s nothing new for us.’’

The captain is not the only Celtic who has been out of synch, though.

“I think, pretty much, timing is everything,’’ Pierce said. “You know, when you’re trying to run through plays, at the end of the day, it’s all about timing - when you set screens, when you throw a lob, when you pass to a guy. That’s something we haven’t been able to do over the past couple of weeks.’’

Green has surgery

Jeff Green is resting comfortably at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio after having surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm Monday. His agent, David Falk, said Green’s surgery was “100 percent successful’’ and he should be able to return to the NBA next season.

“The doctor said he would have an easier return than if he came back from an ACL,’’ said Falk.

Green’s condition was discovered during a team physical before training camp. After the diagnosis, the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to Green of $9 million, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Celtics may have been seeking more cap relief with the move, but Rivers said yesterday he hopes Green is back next season.

“I think Jeff has an important future value to the Celtics,’’ said Rivers. “He has a very positive feeling about Boston. I think that it will be one of a short list of teams that he will talk to when the time comes.’’

“Now that he’s unrestricted and he has the legal right to talk to every team, Boston is obviously a team he is very interested in,’’ Falk said. “We’re going to continue our discussions at an appropriate time with Boston. I don’t think his status is going to change their need for him or his interest in talking with them.’’

Daniels ailing

Marquis Daniels (illness) missed practice and is doubtful for tonight, according to Rivers.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com; Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com.

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