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Thursday's Celtics-Knicks watch: Garnett limited in practice

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  April 25, 2013 11:08 AM

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WALTHAM – Here's a rundown of the talking points following the Celtics' media availability Thursday at the team's practice facility.

Today's focus: Kevin Garnett will practice in a limited role Thursday while dealing with a hip pointer injury, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"I'm not going to let him go through the entire practice even if he's feeling good," said Rivers. "You don't want somebody to bang into you or something. We have to be careful with that."

Rivers said Garnett sustained the injury in the second half and asked Garnett if he could keep going. Rivers feared it was an injury to a stomach muscle and was relieved that it wasn't.

You have to wonder if Garnett has truly been 100 percent since his return late in the season. The Celtics big man is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds in his first two games of the series. He's 8 for 21 from the field (38 percent). Maybe more disturbing is the fact that he's attempted only four free throws. The Celtics would like to involve Garnett more. They did it to great effect during last year's playoffs. Part of the problem is an ineffective Celtics offense, but health could be an issue as well.

Key for Game 3: Scoring in the halfcourt

The burning question after the first two games has been why the Celtics are so good in the first half and so bad after the break. Rivers thinks he knows why: The Celtics are getting points in transition before halftime and are struggling to do the same in the second half.

"We got stops in the first half, and it's transition," said Rivers. "We've gotten a lot of early baskets, transition baskets and attack. The second half we haven't had those, and we're not going to get them all the time. We're not. But we still have to be able to function.

"We're not organized offensively the way we're capable in my opinion. You're going to have to play some halfcourt in the playoffs. We knew that going in."

Rivers said it's hard to replicate New York's pressure outside of a game.

"Working on it in practice is one thing," said Rivers. "Playoff desperation pressure is a whole different ballgame."

Just where that halfcourt offense will come from is a problem. Rivers said Thursday that Courtney Lee has moved behind Jordan Crawford on the depth chart. Avery Bradley has struggled against ball pressure. Paul Pierce is being asked to do too much.

"We're not going to put all that pressure on Paul," said Rivers. "If we're asking Paul to score, start the offense, and pass the ball, we're going to struggle scoring."

Today's schedule: Both the Celtics and Knicks practiced Thursday. The Knicks are still in New York and will travel later today.

Stat of the day: The Celtics and Knicks each took 19 3-pointers in Game 2. That's New York's game. It's not Boston's.

Useful Twitter follow: Basketball Reference. As if you're not going to the site 10 times a day as it is.

Injury update: Kevin Garnett is limited with a hip pointer injury but is expected to play in Game 3.

View from behind enemy lines: (From the New York Times): Kenyon Martin is writing a new ending for the Knicks.

Have something to say about the series? Leave a comment. Follow me on Twitter.

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