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Donny Marshall on M&M: ‘I did not have a problem’ with Paul Pierce’s last shot

03.19.13 at 1:37 pm ET

Donny Marshall of CSNNE joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss Jeff Green‘s monster game vs. the Heat, Paul Pierce‘s final shot, and how to try to guard LeBron James.

In the Celtics‘ 105-103 loss to the Heat on Monday night, Green scored a career-high 43 points. In two of the games that Kevin Garnett has missed due to injury, Green has started and stepped up big time, combining for 74 points.

“From what I understand, [in] last night’s game, KG was in [Green’s] ear as well before, telling him to be that guy that he was,” Marshall said. “Your shots are going to be different obviously when KG comes back. He’s not Carmelo [Anthony] by any means. He’s not going to take 20, 25 shots, and it may make it easier for Jeff when KG comes back. If I’m a wing player, I throw the ball into KG, I know heads are going to turn. If they don’t go double-team when KG is playing well, they’re still going to have to respect him. That means now it’s my opportunity, my job to cut to the basket, to move without the basketball, and KG is such a great passer that Jeff Green I think will still get that quality shot. … At times, you have to be selfish for your team, meaning you may have to take those shots. You may have to take different risks when you’re out there, and that’s how you, I think, gain the respect of your teammates and also let them know that, ‘OK, I’m here to help you,’ and not just put everything on Paul [Pierce] and KG.”

With Green’s excellent play of late, Doc Rivers may have some thinking to do when Garnett returns. For most of the season, Green has come off of the bench, with players like Brandon Bass getting the starting nod.

“They tried to bring Brandon off the bench and I just don’t think his personality is fit for coming off the bench,” Marshall said. “I don’t think he’s one of those ‘go get it’ guys. You don’t run anything for him in the post. If you think about where most of his shots come from, they come off drive, draw and kick to that little 16-, 14-foot area. So, Brandon Bass is not going to be one of those guys that you’re going to showcase off the bench. So, I don’t know how you go about bringing him off the bench. I think you almost have to keep them in there and keep some semblance of interior with Bass on the floor.”

With the Heat’s two-point victory, they now have the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at 23 games. With seven seconds left, Pierce attempted a fadeaway 3-pointer that clanked off the rim, all but ensuring the Heat win.

“If that shot goes in and it’s Terrence Williams or somebody you’re like, ‘Still probably not a great shot and he got lucky,’ Marshall said. “If Pierce makes that shot, we’re like, ‘There’s Pierce. That’s his legacy, that’s what he does.’ LeBron James to me is not as good a defender as everyone wants him to be. … You have a situation in LeBron James that people think, ‘Oh, great defender. [Pierce] had to get that shot off quick.’ I really don’t believe laterally that LeBron is that great a defender. There are better defenders in the NBA, but he’s so big and so explosive that if Pierce catches that, pump fakes, I don’t think LeBron goes for it. If he does, Pierce is probably going to take one dribble and step back. That’s what he does. … The shot was a little early, but I did not have a problem with that shot because of who took it, and really what the situation was.”

James had another terrific game, scoring 37 points and dishing out 12 assists. During the historic streak, both James and Dwyane Wade have played superb basketball.

“[James’] one weakness would be, if you’re nitpicking, would be free throw shooting,” Marshall said. “He’s in the low 70s, somewhere in there. Low to mid 70s shooting the ball. He shoots so much, a high volume, that maybe that’s not such a bad number. … I know we talk about Michael Jordan a lot, but if you get away from MJ and talk about Reggie Miller, you talk about Kobe Bryant, the players who are really, really terrific players, Magic Johnson, guys who can make free throws late. … Everyone who got a chance to watch Wayne Gretzky, everyone who got a chance to watch Tiger Woods in his prime, Michael Jordan, enjoy what you’re seeing right now because it’s one of those things as a kid, you grow up and say, ‘When I grow up, I watched LeBron James.’ That’s what we’re experiencing right now, I believe.”

Even with the loss, the Celtics still are 16-7 since Rajon Rondo was lost for the season due to a torn ACL.

“People ask me, ‘Is [Rondo] a head case? Is he a little nutty?’ I say, ‘You know what, greatness is a little nutty,” Marshall said. “Great players, if it’s inventors, if it’s athletes, whatever it may be … those guys were a little nutty. They are a little edgy, they are a little off. But would you rather play against that guy, or play with that guy? People said, ‘Oh, they’re a better team without him. They’re a better team without him.’ I disagreed with that and I still disagree with that. I think they’re playing better without him because they’ve adjusted and I think they have a terrific coach who has taught them how to play better without him. But in order for that team to win a championship, you need a guy like Rondo.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit

Read More: Brandon Bass, Donny Marshall, Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green
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