Preseason? Anticipation Still High for Garden Debut

WALTHAM - Ray Allen doesn't really know how to get to the TD Banknorth Garden just yet. But he does expect two things from his preseason debut in Boston: a great atmosphere and a cold gym.

"It takes a while to get warmed up in there," Allen said of the Garden after practice Monday in Waltham. "But you asked if I was comfortable in there and pretty much I have been comfortable [as an opponent.] We want the guys who come in to be very uncomfortable. We'll get that building revved up and they'll know that they have to face a formidable opponent every night."

The Celtics will play the New York Knicks at the TD Banknorthd Garden Wednesday night, tipping off a stretch of six preseason games in 10 days.

Paul Pierce says he's looking forward to playing against some new opponents rather than "beating up on each other every day", and he expects the game to serve as a measuring stick for the team to judge its progress since returning to the states.

"I expect it to feel like a regular season game," Pierce said. "These guys are anxious to see the home floor. They haven't seen the Garden yet [this season]. We've been gone in Rome and London and we haven't been home yet."

While he expects plenty of excitement in the air, Pierce, who turned 30 over the weekend and quipped that "30 is the new 20", admitted that even after 10 years in the league, he still gets nervous every time he takes the court.

"I'm always nervous when I step on the court. But once I feel that crowd it gives me energy and it all goes away. Once I get up and down the court I'm pretty good. It's more like a build up of anticipation to the game, wondering how the game is going to turn out, that kind of nervousness. It's nothing like scared nervousness, it's a different type of nervousness."

Cuts Coming Soon?

With 17 guys still on the roster, Doc Rivers said he expects to make cuts as early as this week, with some coming as soon as before Wednesday's game. While the team will need to make two before the season starts in November, Rivers said the team may trim down to just 14 players to provide roster flexibility in case the team wants to make a move down the road.

But perhaps most importantly is getting more practice time in for the rotation guys who'll be on the roster next month.

"[We probably have] too many guys. I want to get my guys reps," Rivers said. "We're not like teams like the Spurs or Detroit who want to keep 17 guys so they can get their guys rest. They know what to do, they know how to play [together], they've been through everything. We haven't been through anything."

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