Ryan Gomes scored 18 points on Wednesday against Philly, but sat out both games over the weekend. He declared himself ready to go Wednesday against Golden State after practicing on Tuesday.
WALTHAM - Ryan Gomes and Michael Olowokandi both practiced Tuesday and barring any setbacks at tomorrow's shootaround, they will be available for tomorrow night's game against the Golden State Warriors as the Celtics look for their sixth straight win.
Gomes (strained calf) sat out both games over the weekend and did not practice Monday, but expects to be back in the lineup and spent most of the practice splitting time with Brian Scalabrine working as the four man with the first unit.
"It'll be nice to add two bigs. [That's the] first time in Ryan's life we've called him a big. But we need him," said Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. "He gives us another big-small, as we call him. You can match up with teams that go small, but stay big when you have Ryan and Scal on the floor."
Gomes was in the midst of an 18-point, seven-rebound game when he got hurt last Wednesday night in Philadelphia while attempting to take a charge from Sixers guard Willie Green. The play sent Gomes backpeddling into the basket stanchion, and while he didn't feel anything initially, it tightened up on him on the flight back to Boston.
Gomes will wear a protective sleeve on the calf to keep it warm and reduce the stress on his calf when he pushes off.
"I'm ready to go Wednesday," said Gomes.
Bench Pressed by Injuries, Minutes
While the Celtics seem to have found an effective starting unit in Telfair, Allen, Pierce, Gomes and Jefferson, the right combinations off the bench aren't always as clear. While moving Wally Szczerbiak to the second unit worked well between his ankle injuries, with Szczerbiak on the shelf Rivers is concerned about how his reserves will generate scoring opportunities.
"We'll have to figure out a way to create points for our bench without Wally," said Rivers. "Someone will have a good night, is how I look at it."
The top candidates for picking up the scoring slack are obvious: Delonte West and Gerald Green. But it's not always as simple as rolling guys out on the floor and watching the ball go in the hoop. Green is still working on scoring without the basketball, and West is still working to find his shooting touch.
Rivers is taking some of the blame for West's struggles, noting that West's ever changing role, while not ideal, comes with the territory, and that West is adapting to his new role.
"It's tough, I'm playing him at point, I'm playing him at two. I'm bringing him in early, I'm bringing him in late," said Rivers. "That's the role of a guy off the bench. He's getting it."
West can certainly shoot the ball better than he's shown this season. After a sophomore campaign where he shot 49% from the field, West is shooting just 37% this season. Thankfully, Rivers is confident that West brings more to the table than just being a shooter.
"When his shot's not going, he does other things. He makes defensive plays, gets steals, long rebounds, so he's a great effort player even without [hitting his] shots," Rivers said. "With shots, he's a heckuva player."
Spirited Competition after Practice
New England Patriots tight end Daniel Graham challenged Paul Pierce to a game of HORSE after practice for a television feature. While there was plenty of trash talking on the court, it was unclear how score was being kept. Graham showed some nice range on his three-pointer from the top of the key, but given that Pierce called that his "favorite shot on the court," he might have been better served to pick another go-to shot.
While Pierce mixed in some crazy shots to keep things interesting, including a half-hearted attempt to replicate Gerald Green's legendary "off the banners" tomahawk dunk at Green's suggestion, he finished off the game with a basic off-the-backboard dunk that Graham didn't even try to replicate, likely fearing the wrath of Bill Belichick had he injured himself in the name of fun.