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 Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.
Heath Evans of the NFL Network joins Mut and Lou to talk how Revis and Browner impact the Patriots defense, the Vince Wilfork Situation, and the arms race between Denver and New England
We talk Revis with his friend and mentor, former Patriot Ty Law.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.
Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston joins Mut, Lou, and Christian to talk about Rajon Rondo in the booth, the rest of the Celtics losing season, and the epic battle between the Pacers and Heat.
We discuss the Red Sox early season woes with manager John Farrell, as well as his views and faith in MLB's new instant replay system, and the continuity in the Sox outfield.
Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox starting left fielder, Grady Sizemore. grady talks about what it was like to hit a home run off his old teammate, C.C. Sabathia, and his reaction to not seeing Koji on the mound in a save situation.
Steve Lyons joins Dale and Holley to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees series and Michael Pineda's sticky hand.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.
Shawn Thornton joined the show to preview the upcoming series against the Red Wings.
2 games left in the season and the Bruins are in the driver's seat for the President's Cup which is allowing them to coast and get healthy. Pierre McGuire updates Mut and Lou on the possibility of Seidenberg's return and talks about situations elsewhere in the NHL.
Crystel called in to defend the terrorists.
Our friend Michele McPhee joined the show to discuss the latest with Kayvon.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Buster Olney joined Mut and Merloni to discuss the Lester contract offer and the trickle-down effect in the clubhouse, the defense of Xander Bogaerts, and the slow start
Andy Brickley joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the Bruins Red Wings series, a possible Seidenberg return, and the power play.
We discuss the Red Sox after our interview with John Farrell, and Dustin Pedroia in the lead-off position has become a hot topic.
We discuss the Bruins first round matchup vs the Red Wings, and why many national folks think this series could be the one to watch for an early round upset.
Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.
Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.
WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island
The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.
Scott and Ben recap WrestleMania 30 and talk about the death of the Ultimate Warrior.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed Aaron Hernandez getting in more jailhouse trouble.More from this show
Friend of the show, Brad Faxon, checks in to examine all the Masters action and to evaluate Bubba Watson's performance.More from this show