The Celtics’ exhibition season effectively concluded after a 108-103 loss to the New York Knicks Tuesday night. Coach Doc Rivers plans to rest Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, plus Brian Scalabrine (right ankle sprain) when the Celtics meet the Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday night, six days before the regular-season opener in Cleveland.
Pierce has his sights set on the Oct. 27 game, the beginning of his 12th season as a Celtic.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Pierce said. “It’s definitely challenging for us, knowing the last two years we haven’t been able to win in Cleveland. This is the team we’re going to probably battle all year long for Eastern Conference homecourt advantage, along with Orlando. This game is huge and it’s right out the gate and we’ve got to be ready.”
Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo are the only Celtic starters expected to perform Wednesday. Rondo scored 20 points and Perkins had five points and 12 rebounds against the Knicks. Marquis Daniels (17 points) led the way for the Celtic reserves, who battled a mostly-starter Knick lineup in the final quarter.
The Celtics rallied for a 101-99 lead on a Daniels layup off a Scalabrine pass with 3:36 remaining, and were tied, 103-103, before an Al Harrington 3-pointer with 1:23 to go.
Scalabrine sustained a sprained ankle after stepping on a camerman near the basket late in the contest. Michael Sweetney (flu) also is out.