Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett not in lineup against Clippers for reunion with Doc Rivers
LOS ANGELES -- In the aftermath of the Nets' exhausting overtime win over Phoenix Friday night, Paul Pierce gladly looked ahead to what was on tap.
As in a reunion with his former coach, Doc Rivers.
"It's going to be fun," Pierce said. "Both of us went our separate ways. This will be a chance to play against him. I know a lot of things that he runs offensively and defensively, so maybe we can use that as an advantage. But on the flip side, he knows my game and he knows KG's game inside out."
Turns out Rivers didn't have to give the Clippers the lowdown on Pierce or Garnett anyway. That's because the two former Celtics, along with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, sat out the final game of the Nets' three-game West Coast trip at the Staples Center Saturday night.
Pierce has a sore left groin, an injury suffered during the second half of Friday night's much-needed win, which snapped the Nets' three-game losing streak and gave them their first road victory in five tries this season. Williams, Lopez and Garnett are nursing sprained ankles.
Attempting to conjure enough offense against the Clippers, Nets coach Jason Kidd inserted Shaun Livingston, who scored 18 points in a season-high 37 minutes against the Suns, and Andray Blatche into the starting lineup along with Friday night's hero, Joe Johnson.
Williams went down 4:40 into Friday night's game, injuring his left leg after he landed on the foot of Suns forward Miles Plumlee as the point guard attempted to follow up his own missed shot. X-rays were negative.
Although he was frustrated, Williams said this sprain wasn't as bad as the right ankle sprain he suffered during a workout in September that shelved him for the better part of the preseason.
"Not even close," Williams said outside the locker room Friday night. "The other one is an inside ankle sprain. Totally different. It shouldn't be too bad."
Garnett and Lopez collided late in the fourth quarter, not long after P.J. Tucker's three-pointer gave the Suns a 92-90 lead with 39.9 seconds left. However, Garnett and Lopez remained in the game.
Garnett suggested he wasn't all that banged up, not displaying any kind of limp as he left the locker room.
Pierce's injury apparently cropped up during the third quarter, but he still played the entire fourth quarter and all of overtime, never mentioning any ill effects after the game.
But his absence, along with the bulk of the Nets' starting lineup being on the shelf, took some of the luster off an admittedly weird matchup with Rivers for Pierce.
"I mean, yeah. Definitely," Pierce said. "Just to look over and not take instructions from him for the first time. I think me and Doc were together almost 10 years, I don't know. Close to 10 years, so it'll be a little different. But we'll always share a bond. We still talk from time to time."
But Saturday night, rather than chatting it up while Pierce was in uniform, the duo could only flash back to memories of their Boston days.