WALTHAM — While word trickled out before the weekend that Gerald Green would be among the competitors in the All-Star slam dunk contest, the league made the official announcement this afternoon.
Green will vie for the title against defending champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and the Chicago Bulls’ Tyrus Thomas. Given the dunks Green pulls off in games and practices, he seems like the favorite. He has bounced balls off walls and championship banners for seemingly easy dunks. Green plans to incorporate captain Paul Pierce in at least one dunk attempt during the contest.
‘‘I’m pretty excited, but I wish our record was a lot better,’’ said Green. ‘‘I’m going to try to go out there and win it for my team, my friends and my family. Before the season started, I thought this would be a reward for me for improving and having a good record. Now, I’ve got to go out there and make the best of it.’’
Although Green insisted he didn’t know he would be named to the dunk contest until today, he has been preparing for the possibility, dreaming up dunks that will impress a seen-it-all Vegas crowd.
According to teammate Tony Allen, Green has one guaranteed show-stopper on his dunk list.
Paul Pierce spent the tail end of practice running on a treadmill as his teammates walked through a series of plays. Doc Rivers said it was unlikely Pierce would return Wednesday against the Miami Heat, meaning that the earliest and, for now, likeliest comeback date is Friday against the New Jersey Nets. After time on the treadmill, Pierce threw up a few shots after practice and took on teammates Allan Ray and Wally Szczerbiak.
‘‘He looks OK on the floor,’’ said Rivers. ‘‘He doesn’t look tired, but he’s only going short spurts. That’s probably what he’s going to do when he comes back anyway. So, I don’t think conditioning will be a problem for him early on because he’s not going to play the traditional 35 minutes. He’s going to play in bursts.’’