Paul Pierce checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Thursday, one day after leading the Celtics to an 89-70 victory over the Nets.
Pierce scored 24 points Wednesday, but he acknowledged that he still has a ways to go to get back to form after missing the first three games with a right heel injury.
"I'm coming along slowly," he said. "Remember, I'm coming off an injury, so Doc [Rivers] hasn't been one to push me too hard in my first few games. I haven't had any practice time with the crew. That's pretty much what that's been about [resting in the fourth quarter]. We've been able to get leads through three quarters and that's allowed me to rest and try to get my injury all the way healed."
Added Pierce: "I really didn't have too much of a preseason, but you can see the rust throughout the league on teams getting off to the starts they're getting off to, except for the teams that have probably been together for a while. We're still trying to find ourselves, even though it's seven games into the season. We've dealt with injuries, we've still got guys that we're trying to implement into the offense, a lot of new guys."
Rivers has made a point of stressing that the Celtics' window is closing quickly, and Pierce is well aware.
"He's been talking about that pretty much every year," Pierce said. "But look at the contracts: [Kevin Garnett] is up this year, Ray Allen's up this year. You never know what the future is going to hold. So definitely, this is a year where you have to have a little bit more of a sense of urgency, knowing that maybe this is the last time we could be on the court together. That's the way we're taking it, each and every day we come out here and play the game, and especially when we're around each other in the locker room, because you never really know what's going to happen next year."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On Avery Bradley: We know he can play tremendous defense. I think offensively it's just about him gaining his confidence. Because in practice I'm seeing him knock down shots constantly, going to the rack strong. But he's way ahead of the curve defensively. He might be right now one of the top 10 best defenders in the NBA that people don't even know about. If he can bring his offense along to catch up with his defense, he can be one heck of a player."
On Brandon Bass: "I had a chance to play against him a lot in Orlando. You could see the flashes of the things he could do in his limited minutes. I knew he was a physical player, I knew he was really strong on the inside One thing that has surprised me is him knocking down the 15-footer. I didn't know he that good of a shooter from 15 feet and in. That's something that has surprised me. That's been a great addition. If he can continue to play with that energy and confidence. If he can be a Sixth Man Player of the Year, that just says a lot of how good our team is going to be.
On Bass' "No-Pass Bass" nickname: "As long as he keeps making them at a high rate, I have no problem with it. Other than that, he has to swing it to me."
On his extensive use of shot fakes: "I don't think I have a choice. I'm not that fast anyway. … I like to put my body into the defense. It kind of throws them off balance and it enables me to get to the hole or get my jumper."
On the improved play from the bench this season: "There's a lot more experience coming off our bench, a lot more maturity amongst them. They're coming in and they're getting the job done. They're getting to practice early. You can see that they want to win a championship."
On the Heat: "They've gained a lot of confidence in what they've done within a year, going to the finals and having a chance to win a championship, and it's only going to bring more confidence to two determined players. great players always try to find a way. Hopefully, we can just extend that window for them one more year."
On Shaquille O'Neal joining TNT: "He has more nicknames than I've ever seen in the history of sport. He's a great addition. Maybe they'll get into a tussle and bring up the ratings. … I would like to see a rematch of the Charles Barkley-Shaquille O'Neal fight."
Tom E. calls the boys to give his take on the week 3 home opener in which it should end in a Patriots victory.
Before Price heads over to the stadium, the guys discuss their final thoughts and analysis on the list of inactives and what will go down today at 1pm at Gillette Stadium.
The boys get into the Pats/Raiders match-up and what they're looking for today in what should be an easy win - less penalties, getting the offense going and NO injuries.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Joe and Dave talk with David Ortiz after he hits two home runs to propel the Red Sox to an extra-innings win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.
As the season winds down, We check in Sox skipper John Farrell as we await the Boston debut of Rusney Castillo.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.
Jerod Mayo gives Christian karaoke advice and previews the Patriots home opener.
Christian chooses his song for Karaoke tonight.
Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.
We check in with the great 88, the playmaker Michael Irvin joins Dale and Holley.
Michael, Dale and Tom E. Curran break down, react and take your calls about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's first public press conference this regular season.
For our final segment we take a look back at the infamous Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule play, this time via Raiders radio and more.
Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.
Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Your beloved hosts are joined by WEEI.com Bruins reporter DJ Bean as well as producer of the Dennis & Callahan Show, Craig "Sausage" Sawisch. Support America: Support Your Local Post Office
Dennis, Callahan and Minihane make their podcast debut. This week's topics include Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jenny Dell and some discussion on people we've encountered with the worst breath.
The 100th Minor Details podcast revisits some old friends, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis, who were the guests on the first show in November 2010, join the show anew.
Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show
Dale, Michael (and DJ Bean) discuss the Bruins off-season and whether or not they've done enough to get back into position to win the Stanley Cup.More from this show