Speaking on the Mut and Merloni Show with Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni, Celtics forward Paul Pierce talked about how important the extra days of rest the C's are getting before taking on the Knicks in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, along with his analysis of what the Kendrick Perkins trade might mean to the Celts throughout the playoffs.
Pierce explained that partly because of the added time prior to Sunday's showdown at TD Garden, he feels better than ever heading into the postseason.
"People don't understand, you go through an 82-game grind, just little nicks and bruises that you get throughout the course of a season, when you get a couple of days rest it can do wonders for the body," he explained. "I'm feeling pretty good at this point, a lot better than at this point last year. I'm ready to go.
"I flipped the switch when I woke up this morning. It's a whole new season now. ... I'm locked in like I've never been been before for these playoffs."
Regarding the talk surrounding the Celtics trade of Kendrick Perkins, which many are pointing to as the potential downfall of the C's in the playoffs, Pierce said he doesn't want hear any more about the deal being the team's downfall.
"I think that's just an excuse at this point," he said. "I think it's time to move on from that. It hurt when you lose a teammate who has been in the wars with you. ... I think we have more than enough to win a championship in this locker room."
One of those players the Celtics will have to count on during any playoff run, said Pierce, is Shaquille O'Neal, who continues to battle an injury to his right Achilles tendon and calf.
"He's going to be huge for us," said the Celtics' captain. "If he's healthy, I believe we can win the whole thing, but we definitely need him."
Pierce also touched on the story involving Kobe Bryant, who was recently fined $100,000 after being caught on television making a homophobic slur toward an official.
"You can't fault somebody in the heat of the moment, reacting," Pierce said. "Maybe it wasn't in the best interest of the fan appeal, especially when you look at it on camera. But I hear it every game. ... If the camera doesn't catch him I'm sure we aren't talking about it right now." When asked if the saga was partly a media creation, Pierce responded, "I think it's all media."
For more Celtics coverage, see the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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