Allen, Garnett won't force if Pierce is limited Print
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Saturday, 07 June 2008 12:21
NBA Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -If Paul Pierce is sidelined or ineffective in Game 2 of the NBA finals, don't expect the remainder of the Big Three to go hunting for big nights.
That's not the way the Boston Celtics do things.
Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett said they will play as they always do, counting on their teammates to help carry the load, rather than trying to carry them.
``No, that doesn't mean I score more. That definitely doesn't,'' Allen said Saturday. ``I just have to play the same, attack. The ball might be in my hands more if that was the case. It might not be, who knows.''
Allen said players can get in trouble when they feel a need to do too much, reminding teammates there are other ways to pick up the slack besides scoring.
``I've always told guys when somebody's out, I said, 'You should be flirting with triple-doubles. Try to get more rebounds, you have more opportunities to pass the ball,''' he said.
Pierce, the Celtics' leading scorer, expects to play Sunday night when Boston tries to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. He has been getting treatment on the right knee he injured during the third quarter of the Celtics' 98-88 victory Thursday night.
Pierce returned less than two minutes after his injury to hit a pair of big 3-pointers and finish with 22 points. There is no guarantee he would be that effective even if he does play Sunday, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there would be no pressure on Garnett or Allen to revert back to their pre-Boston days in that case.
``I would assume the ball will find them more, but I don't want to, again, change who we are and how we play if, let's say, Paul was not effective or couldn't go,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. ``We're going to play our same game, we're going to move the ball the same. Different guys will just have to touch the ball.''
The Celtics don't have much experience playing without Pierce, who missed only two games this season, both in April when Rivers was trying to keep his three stars fresh for the playoffs.
But they've had to deal with longer absences to both Garnett and Allen, and came through just fine.
Boston went 7-2 when Garnett was out with an abdominal strain leading into the All-Star break, getting a big lift from rookie Leon Powe. The Celtics also won six of the seven games Allen missed because of injury or illness.
``Just guys just getting an opportunity and doing it as a team and getting it from everybody that plays. That's how we look at it,'' said reserve James Posey, who likely would play a much larger role if Pierce struggles.
``We have confidence in the guys that we have on this team and we have shown that during the course of the season as well.''
They did in Game 1, when starting center Kendrick Perkins also was hurt. P.J. Brown took most of his minutes and finished with six rebounds, and likely would be a key Sunday if Perkins is still troubled by his sprained ankle.
Garnett was Minnesota's leading scorer for years, but he's always been known as - and even criticized for - an unselfish teammate who tried to get others involved rather than look for his own offense. He accepted a lesser offensive role along with the rest of the Big Three this season, one he expects to fill Sunday no matter who is on the floor with him.
``I think anybody that comes in and fills those positions, whether it's Pose or whether it's Leon or whoever, P.J., it obviously falls on everybody,'' Garnett said. ``But to make plays and put guys in positions to where they can be successful is part of the responsibility for us with Ray and our playmakers.
``Whether (Pierce and Perkins) play or don't play, I think the mind-set needs to be consistent with myself and some of the other guys who make plays for others, and that's the way it is.''
 

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