Celtics-Nets pregame notes: Rivers happy with his guard options

By Gary Dzen, Globe Staff

Welcome to TD Garden, where the Celtics will play a game on their home court for the first time this preseason. The new-look Nets are in town. They’re from Brooklyn now. I’ve already called them the “New Jersey Nets” and the “Knicks” on Twitter, so we’re not off to a good start. Let’s hope the game is better than Monday night’s.

Every Celtic but Darko Milicic is available for Doc Rivers. Milicic has a mild right wrist sprain (Darko’s hand was heavily wrapped), but Rivers said he doesn’t think the injury is serious.


Tonight’s projected starting lineups:

Rajon Rondo
Courtney Lee
Paul Pierce
Jared Sullinger
Kevin Garnett


Deron Williams
Joe Johnson
Gerald Wallace
Kris Humphries
Brook Lopez

The game itself is obviously secondary to the teams preparing for the start of the regular season, which is two weeks from tonight. The Celtics have 16 players on their roster, but they don’t seem to have a true backup point guard after Keyon Dooling announced his retirement. Rivers said the Celtics aren’t necessarily in the market for a backup to Rondo, and he said he is comfortable with Courtney Lee and Jason Terry as backup ball handlers.

“I think every team is always looking,” said Rivers. “If nothing comes, does that bother us? No. It would be great to get another guy at any position. Obviously that one would help. But we can’t also forget that Avery [Bradley] is coming back, too. We don’t want to overdo the point guard thing.

Bradley was out shooting free throws before the game. That’s a good sign, but Rivers said Bradley is still expected to be out until December or January.

“Every team doesn’t have two great point guards,” said Rivers. “Most teams don’t.”


— Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox spoke to reporters before the game and said he is still a ways away from returning to the court. Both his conditioning (following heart surgery) and a back injury have kept Wilcox off the court.

“I’m just not ready, I’m just not comfortable,” said Wilcox. “I don’t want to get out there too early and have to sit out again.”

— Sullinger worked on a lot of pick-and-pop plays before the game. He also did some pick-and-rolls, but he only rolled about 6-8 feet away from the basket, where he threw in some hook shots. Sullinger is very skilled at a lot of funky in-between runners and floaters, so expect him to use a lot of them.

— On the waiving of Jamar Smith and Dionte Christmas, Rivers said, “Two good kids, both played hard. It just really came down to numbers. Just not enough room.”

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