BOSTON -- I'm here in Beantown to witness the systematic destruction of the defending NBA champions.
First, the injury news: Leon Powe, Boston's best interior player in Kevin Garnett's absence, could miss "a couple of weeks" with a sprained right knee, coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night before the Celtics' game against the Miami Heat. Ray Allen also is out with a hyperextended elbow. Glen "Big Baby" Davis returns to the starting lineup after missing the past three games with a sprained ankle. Rajon Rondo also is struggling with a sprained ankle, and will be doing so for the rest of the season.
And those weren't even the news flashes. Rivers seemed decidedly less optimistic that Garnett would return Friday at San Antonio or Saturday at Memphis. And he conceded the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to Cleveland before the game, saying, "We're not gonna catch Cleveland."
Now the Celts have to put themselves back together in time to hold off Orlando for the second seed.
Oh, by the way: Dwyane Wade is out Wednesday night with a strained right hip flexor. This was the only piece of news that made Rivers smile.
"He should never play, ever again, against us," Rivers said. "It's a Marquette thing."
Shoot, at this point, Marquette could beat both the Celtics and the Heat.
I'm kidding, of course, but the race for the top three seeds in the East has turned into a contest to see which team can dress eight healthy players. Cleveland absorbed a blow, too, on Wednesday with news that Wally Szczerbiak will miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained left knee.
Anyone in favor of a shortened regular season?