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Not "Tanking" But...

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Jackie MacMullen weighs in with the topic that we've been blogging to death since the first week of the season.  To tank or not to tank.

It is a fine line when you start looking toward the future in the middle of a season. Players and coaches don't like it, but general managers and owners are trained to view it in strictly business terms, as they should.

"Obviously, everyone knows what's out there," Rivers said. "But I'm a firm believer if you start trying to lose, the basketball gods will get you."

The lottery game must be played far more subtly than that. We're not talking about tanking. We're not saying you mismatch personnel on purpose and yank combinations that are working in the middle of a game. We're not suggesting Boston lure Acie Earl out of retirement and ink him to a long-term deal.

If you blatantly lose, the league office will weigh in with severe consequences. That's why nobody ever discusses positioning themselves for the lottery. That's also why a lottery was introduced in the first place, so teams that stopped trying would not automatically be rewarded with the best player in the draft.

As if to prove that he's a competitor and won't let whispers of conspiracy taint his good name, Paul Pierce is working out "like a madman" now that the boot has come off.  Mark Murphy reports:

Paul Pierce surprised many last week when he targeted the first week of February for a return, but even if the Celtics captain needs more time to come back from a stress reaction in his left foot, he is apparently trying to push the issue as hard as possible.
According to one observor, Pierce has been “working out like a madman'’ the last three days at the team’s training facility in Waltham.

Though these workouts don’t include anything involving a basketball, Pierce was reportedly pushing himself hard on stations like the exercise bike and the weight room.

Now that the therapeutic boot has been removed from his foot, Pierce has obviously wasted no time in trying to get back into shape.