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Rivers on Rasheed Wallace: 'He can play'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 13, 2012 07:19 PM

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The NBA rumor mill started churning in full force Thursday after Yahoo! Sports reported that Rasheed Wallace was contemplating a return to the NBA. The 37-year-old Wallace was one of the best power forwards of his era, and he was last seen playing for the Celtics in a Game-7 loss to the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't exactly express interest in bringing Wallace back to Boston Friday, but he did say that Wallace could return successfully if that was his intention.

"He can play," said Rivers. "With everyone, it's conditioning. If he's in great condition, then I'm sure he can play. If he's not then I'm sure it's going to be tough for him to play."

Rivers said he was not surprised that Wallace would be contemplating a comeback.

"I was surprised that he retired, honestly," said Rivers. "Things didn't end great, but he did play well in the first half of that Game 7, and then the cramps and all that stuff took its toll on him. But I think he still had basketball left in his body ... I think sometimes you talk yourself into it, and then when you get home you think, 'What have I done?', and I think that's what he's going through. I think he thinks he left a year or two out there."

-- Is tonight the night Paul Pierce breaks out in a big way? Rivers thinks he's close.

"He missed camp, that hurts your conditioning, and I think he's working around it," said Rivers. "He didn't play well the other night, but I saw it coming. You can see it coming with him. I can see it coming. I wouldn't be surprised in the next two or three games you'll see a big Paul Pierce game."

-- Rivers said we may see rookie E'Twaun Moore get some time tonight in the absence of Keyon Dooling.

"You can make the case that running the point guard spot, he may be our best option," Rivers said. Rivers said he likes to use Dooling as a shooting guard, and tonight's game might give him a chance to see how Moore and Avery Bradley do backing up Rajon Rondo.

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