No Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, but their imprint grows

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett won't be on the court Wednesday night when the Nets face the Celtics in Boston, but increasingly, the two are making an impression on the team's personality. They take no prisoners, don't step back from any challenge.

"The potential is definitely there for us to be one of those teams that can be talked about in NBA history," Pierce said. "But it's up to us to go out there and show it, be healthy and make a great run, and then win a championship to be in those talks."

"I’ve always cared about the guy who’s struggling or the guy who’s going through something," said Garnett. "I’ve always tried to be a source of strength for anyone who’s on the team, and always leaned on guys for strength. I don’t know, it’s just who I am. It’s my makeup. If you ask my friends, they’ll tell you the same thing."

Jason Kidd likes what they bring to his club, encourages and Deron Williams likes it as well.

"We'll worry about us, we'll worry about getting better, and we feel like if we get to the playoffs and everybody's healthy, we have a chance to beat anybody."

Wednesday, their teammate Jason Terry will get his first preason minutes, but it's hard to tell who will be on the court with him. Pierce, Garnett, Williams, Andrei Kirilenko and Tornike Shengelia are definitely out.  Newly signed guard Adonis Thomas hasn't joined the team and it's unlikely he will. He's bound for Springfield. That may not be the end of it. Kidd said a lot of his players will be resting.

Expect a lot of time for the rookies: Mason Plumlee and the two camp invites, Jorge Gutierrez and Chris Johnson.

Meanwhile, in Boston Gerald Wallace has been getting headlines for claiming his new teammates (and maybe a couple of his old ones) not giving the effort the team needs.

"I'm getting fussed at by the coaches every time," said Wallace. "They're trying to tell me to relax and ease up. But the main thing is I want the guys to compete. If we lose all 82 games, but we lose them going down fighting and competing hard. I can live with that. I can't live with losing and we didn't compete, we didn't give our best effort and we just gave the game away."

The game will be televised on both YES and ESPN.

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