Celtics

West out for Celtics, banged-up Pierce is in

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West out for Celtics, banged-up Pierce is in

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Delonte West will not play against the New Jersey Nets, held out by what Doc Rivers is calling a freak injury.

West, who suffered a fractured right (non-shooting) wrist on November 24, was expected to make his return on Wednesday. On Tuesday, however, he re-injured his wrist during practice.

Although test revealed there was no further damage, Rivers says West just wasnt ready.

It was a tweak of the wrist, said Rivers before the game against the Nets. He was reaching for the ball, he was going for a steal, which should tell you something, and it was just bad timing.

While there is no timetable set for Wests return, Rivers hopes he will be able to play in the first game after the All-Star Break against the Golden State Warriors. If he is unable to go that night, the Celtics will assess his status on a game-by-game basis.

West was originally projected to return after the break, but his progress had put him ahead of schedule. Last Sunday, he plead his case to play against the Miami Heat. The Celtics said no, but planned for him to play limited minutes against the Nets. On Wednesday, however, Rivers said West did not make an argument.

"No there was no argument today," said Rivers. "I dont think he could play today."

West, meanwhile, has been anxious to get back out on the court. After serving a ten-game suspension for pleading guilty to weapons charges, he played in only five games before suffering the injury.

"I want to play. I'm a player," he said on Sunday. "We've been geared and trained for this, to play through injuries or minor injuries. But I think they're looking more for the big picture. They don't want me to get out there and re-injure it before it's right there at the finish line. So a few more days and Ill be going be going full tilt."

While West will have to wait at least another game, Paul Pierce will play against the Nets. Pierce suffered a sore left foot and sprained right hand but will not sit out.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Heat in Miami. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Will Celtics be drained by emotional comeback win Monday in Dallas?

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

The Boston Celtics remain a team whose collective talents are far more valuable than their individual abilities.

But there are going to be nights when someone has to shoulder a larger burden of the team in order to win. More often than not, that “one” will likely be No. 11, Kyrie Irving. 

We saw in Dallas what can happen when Irving feels he has little choice but to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. 

The Celtics were desperate for a spark against the Mavericks and found it in Irving, who scored 47 points in leading the Celtics to a come-from-behind 110-102 overtime win. 

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will require a similar Herculean effort tonight when they take the Miami Heat with a chance to extend their winning streak to 17 straight. 

This team isn’t one to dwell on success in the past, even if the past was just 24 hours ago. But there’s no getting around how what happened on Monday night might impact what we see against the Heat. 

Boston expended a tremendous amount of energy in rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, the kind of effort that may be difficult to replicate against a Miami team that you can count on to play hard from the opening tip to the final horn. 

Irving’s performance was one of the rare instances this season when Boston clearly could not have won without their top scorer having a big game. 

“When we needed it most, he made big shot after big shot,” said Al Horford. “He had such good rhythm, I was thinking, ‘just let him keep it going.’ He just kept being aggressive, taking really good shots. He recognized he needed to be extra aggressive, especially at the end and score the ball for us.”

Scoring could potentially be at a premium against Miami which allows 102.5 points per game which ranks ninth in the league in fewest points allowed. Also, the Heat will test Boston’s perimeter defenders. Miami comes into tonight’s game averaging 11.1 made 3-pointers per game which ranks ninth in the NBA. 

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic who is averaging team highs in scoring (18.3 points) and assists (4.7) this season. 

These two squared off earlier this season in Miami with the Celtics coming away with a 96-90 win as Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 and 20 points, respectively. In that game, the Heat were without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who will be in the lineup tonight as the Heat try to bounce back after losing three of its last four games.

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