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‘Ticket Stub’ will start for bruised Celts

BOSTON – Doc Rivers laughed. Paul Pierce smiled. The emotional shock of a tough day had worn off for the Boston Celtics.

More than 24 hours had passed since they learned that Kevin Garnett would miss the first round against the Chicago Bulls, and probably the rest of the playoffs, and that general manager Danny Ainge suffered a heart attack that later was described as minor by the team.

The mood had lightened enough Friday for second-year forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis to joke about his role as the replacement for “The Big Ticket,” Garnett’s nickname, in Saturday’s series opener.

“I’m not the Big Ticket. I’m the Ticket Stub,” Davis said with a grin. “So don’t count the Ticket Stub out. You might need the ticket to get into the game, but you leave with the ticket stub because you’ll never forget this game. You need it as a souvenir.”

Rivers doesn’t expect to coach Garnett again this season; he’s out with a strained tendon in his right knee. Without his defense and leadership, the second-seeded Celtics’ mission to repeat as NBA champs will be a lot harder.

Even with Garnett, they needed seven games to get past Atlanta in the first round last year. Every opponent this season has been motivated to knock off the champions.

“We’ve been tried all year,” Pierce said. “For us to repeat, it’s going to be the toughest thing we ever had to do.”

It certainly will be tougher without Garnett. “I think people are counting us out,” center Kendrick Perkins said. “I don’t even think people are expecting us to make it past the second round. We’ve got enough talent here to give ourselves a chance to win every game.”

They still have Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, all veterans of last year’s run to the Celtics’ NBA-record 17th title. Power forwards Davis and Leon Powe have improved. So the Bulls aren’t getting overconfident because one of the NBA’s best players is missing.

“They’re not world champions just because of Kevin Garnett,” Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. “They’re world champions because they get after it. They know their roles.”


SATURDAY: Chicago at Boston, 9:30 a.m., ESPN; Detroit at Cleveland, noon, ABC; Dallas at San Antonio, 5 p.m., ESPN; Houston at Portland, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

SUNDAY: Utah at L.A. Lakers, noon, ABC; Philadelphia at Orlando, 2:30 p.m., TNT; Miami at Atlanta, 5 p.m., TNT; New Orleans at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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