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His team-high 24-points game in just 16 minutes and 37 seconds, and even more impressive is the fact that Pierce nearly didn’t play after spraining his knee in Sunday’s morning shootaround.
“I kinda sprained it this morning, then I aggravated it today in the game,” Pierce said after the Celtics took a 3-1 series lead over Atlanta. “I’m glad we were able to get a win like this, give me some rest. We’ll get me a couple days off, I can get some treatment and hopefully it feels good on Tuesday.”
Pierce said the knee felt “sore” after the game. He further aggravated the knee late in the first half, but hit the floor to help Boston jump out to a 30+ point lead in the early goings of the third quarter. Pierce did not see the floor for most of the second half, giving him a chance to rest and receive more treatment.
“It’s a little bit sore right now, so Doc [Rivers] just wanted to take precautions tonight, especially when we had such a big lead,” Pierce said after his 10-for-13 shooting performance. “That allowed me to go back in the fourth quarter, get treatment and rest for the next couple days.”
Pierce Tweeted later Sunday evening “I think the knee is going to be fine glad I didn’t have to play a lot of minutes tonight to rest it good win tonight fellas.”
As for Pierce’s Game 5 status, Rivers said Pierce is not alone in the “uncertain” category.
“I have no idea,” Doc said. “With a couple of guys, actually three of them, we literally don’t know. So we’ll find out.”
Along with Pierce, guards Ray Allen (ankle) and Avery Bradley (shoulder) — both game-time decisions on Sunday –are nursing ailments, and will likely come down to a game-time decision again for Tuesday’s Game 5 in Atlanta.