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BOSTON (CBS) – With the series tied at a game apiece, the Celtics and Hawks continue their playoff showdown Friday night in Boston.
Rajon Rondo will return to the floor after serving his one-game suspension in Game 2, and is ready to make it up to his teammates.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday, and expects Rondo to really bring it Friday night.
“I wouldn’t want to have to guard him, but that’s probably true on any given day,” said Bulpett. “He’s going to be after it, I would assume, and I know his teammate assume that because even before Game 2 I was talking to a few players and (Mickael) Pietrus said ‘I can’t wait to see how he comes out Friday night.’ Then again, you don’t want to have him try to do too much.”
“The Celtics were damn stagnant early in Game 1, and Rondo kind of saved them,” said Bulpett. “It’s hard to say someone kept them in the game when they got down by 17 in the first quarter, but he did. I would expect him to play really, really well Friday night.”
Captain Paul Pierce played really, really well in the C’s 87-80 Game 2 victory, leading the way with 36 points and 14 rebounds. Is it concerning that Pierce saw 44-minutes of action, even with two days off between games?
“Paul Pierce is one of those guys that, even when Doc gives the team days off, he’ll show up in the gym. He’s a guy that needs gym time, needs repetition,” said Bulpett. “When he was coming back from missing all the time he missed with the injury at the start of the season, he had a good game his first one or two and then started to not play well at all. It wasn’t until he was able to come back and go through his lengthy pregame shooting workout that he was really able to find his groove.”
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“He’s a guy, not unlike Larry Bird, that needs to go out and do the repetitions; be able to have that on the computer chip, just that touch.”
Then there is the concern over shooting guard Ray Allen, who has missed both playoff games with a lingering ankle injury. Allen has not hit the court since April 11 with the injury, and his status is changing every day. He is expected to practice on Thursday, but what are the odds of Allen making it into Friday night’s Game 3?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did either,” said Bulpett. “I’m not sure Doc is playing cat and mouse; they just don’t know. One day it feels better, the next day it doesn’t. That fact alone should let you know that you cannot count on Ray Allen going forward. He might come back, play tomorrow, play the rest of this series, and then Game 3 of the next series it could not be there. I think you have to go day-to-day.”
Who needs to step it up if Ray does miss more time? And is the Celtics bench deep enough to make a long playoff run? Find out all this and more with Steve Bulpett on Toucher & Rich!