“I feel great,” West said in the locker room before the game. “I always feel great. Every day I wake up and I put on a Celtics uniform I feel blessed. Hoo-rah.”
The last part of that quote reflects West’s typical playful personality with reporters.
“I woke up this morning and by the grace of God all the pain was gone,” said West. “I’m here suited up, suited and booted and ready to go.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn’t so sure West was ready.
“He didn’t look great this morning, honestly,” said Rivers. “He really didn’t look good when he shot around before the game. But we’re going to take the gamble.”
Rivers actually told the team to place West on the inactive list earlier today, but West insisted on playing.
“When a player wants to go that badly and says he can do it, you trust that,” said Rivers. “We’ll find out after the game if we can trust him more.”
West defended his penchant for playing through injuries.
“It’s another knick-knack injury from going hard, not playing soft,” he said. “It’s the kind of injury that comes with my job description. I go 100 percent through walk-throughs and shoot-arounds and practice every day. I get banged up on the wrong side of that, but in the long run I’m making my teammates better. That’s the type of game I like to play.
“Ease up? I don’t understand what ease up means. I love being out there. I love to play. When I go out there I play hard. You have practice the way you play. I think I need to practice hitting some more jump shots.”
“My timing was nice,” said Jefferson. “I feel like the shots I missed were makeable shots. It’s not like coming back from an ankle injury.”
Jefferson said health will not limit his minutes tonight.
“I don’t think I’m going to be playing a lot of minutes if I’m stinking up the court,” he said.
Paul Pierce was encouraged by Jefferson’s play.
“I saw some positive signs,” he said. “Hopefully he can get in and play a little bit more and get his groove back. We’re trying to get him back to 100 percent.”
Doc Rivers said he hoped to use Jefferson more tonight.
“He looked very good,” said Rivers. “You could see in the second half he lost his conditioning a little bit. And that’s fine. He didn’t lose a lot of time. He lost two weeks. And that’s not as bad as it could have been.”
Keep it here for updates throughout the game.