Kendrick Perkins said that he will return to practice next week and that he hopes to return to game action in three weeks. That could put him in line to play against the Lakers when the Celtics visit Los Angeles in late January. It's an optimistic timetable, but Perkins is confident ater playing 3-on-3 games. "It feels good," Perkins said before the Celtics played the Raptors. "I haven't had any setbacks or swelling, which is weird."

 

Celtics president Danny Ainge joined The Big Show to talk about Wednesday's night victory over the Spurs, the importance of Jermaine O'Neal and who among the "Big Four" is the most irreplaceable. Ainge called Rajon Rondo's performance "one of the best games Rondo's ever played," but Ainge was more impressed by his defense against Tony Parker than his triple-double stat line.

 

The latest round of NBA All-Star balloting was announced today and Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are still among the top two at their positions, but they are getting competition from Amar'e Stoudemire and Derrick Rose. Garnett leads Stoudemire by about 24,000 votes, while Rondo's lead over Rose is down to 12,000.

 

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard are the other leaders in the East, while Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and the injured Yao Ming lead the West. The starters will be announced Jan. 27.

 

Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal, in an interview with the Dale & Holley Show, said that he has been plotting his next major event in the Boston area. In the aftermath of his journey to Harvard Square as the "Shaq-tue" and his evening serving as conductor of the Boston Pops, O'Neal now would like to serve as a giant target for frozen weapons.

 

Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show, suggested that even after exceptional games such as Rajon Rondo's triple-double against the Spurs on Wednesday, the point guard still has plenty of upside for his game. While Rondo was brilliant in scoring a dozen points, pulling in 10 boards and dishing out 22 assists (while adding a notable block of George Hill), Rivers said that if he can improve as a shooter, it would be nearly impossible for opposing teams to guard him.

 

It was late in the second quarter when San Antonio’s George Hill found himself all alone under the Celtics basket about to cruise in for an easy two points. Out of nowhere Rajon Rondo appeared for a no-way, no-how clean block.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Following his most productive night of the season in the scoring column, Glen Davis said coach Doc Rivers continues to give him plenty of tough love this season. But Davis - with 23 points in a 105-103 win over the Spurs - added that Rivers is working with him this season harder than ever to get the most out of him. 

 

Paul Pierce blocked Manu Ginobili's jumper as time expired to preserve a 105-103 win over the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night at TD Garden. 

 

It's been a week since Kevin Garnett left the Celtics game with Detroit with what turned out to be a strained calf muscle. At the time the team put a two-week window on his possible return, although it should be noted that the timeframe was only a rough estimate and is very flexible. Garnett has done his part, getting up shots after practice and working on conditioning with trainer Bryan Doo. "What was the time frame we gave you, two weeks?" Doc Rivers asked. "Is it next Wednesday? So hopefully back in two weeks." 
 

The deadline for nonguaranteed NBA contracts to become guaranteed contracts is Jan. 10, but because of procedural matters, players would have had to have been waived today. The two Celtics in that position are Delonte West and Von Wafer, both of whom are on one-year minimum contracts. Guaranteeing West's deal West was a no-brainer, but Wafer's status was in some doubt until today.