|What can Mickael Pietrus really give the Celtics?||01.10.12 at 8:51 am ET|
WALTHAM — It’s a calculated gamble but one Celtics team President Danny Ainge knew he had to take.
When the Celtics got the news that Jeff Green would need season-ending surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm – surgery that was successfully performed on Monday at the Cleveland Clinic – Ainge was down a key man on his bench.
The Phoenix Suns provided the opportunity when they waived Mickael Pietrus on Dec. 22. Two days later, Ainge signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.
The veteran forward – who turns 30 on Feb. 7 – guaranteed that he’ll make his Boston debut this Wednesday when the Celtics host the defending champion Mavericks at TD Garden. Pietrus, who has averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds a game in his eight NBA seasons, missed the first two weeks with the team after rehabbing from arthroscopic right knee surgery.
What can he give the Celtics?
“Obviously, I haven’t played for eight months so I’m going to be Mickael Pietrus from the first game,” Pietrus said. “But, defensively, you can always help your team do the littlest of things to make them be a great team. So if I can get in the game Wednesday, even five minutes or 10 minutes, whatever, I’m willing to help my team.”
Pietrus is one of the most genuinely enthusiastic and likable players in the NBA. Combine that will his defensive skills, and he can bring a lot of intangibles to the Green.
“That’s why I was excited,” Pietrus said with a wide smile. “That’s why I wanted to be a Celtic because I think – on the floor – me and KG and all the guys can bring the toughness that Boston had when we played them. They were so tough. It was hard for us to get a shot so I’m trying to get the same mindset. Get in the game, play hard and make sure we work hard, and at the end of the day, make sure we get the ‘W’.
“It was a good two weeks. I got to see downtown Boston a little bit, read the newspaper so obviously, there’s no snow yet so good thing – summertime in Boston. I’ve been watching my teammates and watching a lot of film so on Wednesday, I’ll be ready… Wednesday is going to be a great day for me!”
Pietrus tested his knee in practice last Thursday then worked with the second unit on Sunday before going full bore on Monday, not coming out to rest at all.
“Today I went through my first practice,” said Pietrus. “It feels good to be a Celtic. I had fun so hopefully, I’ll be back on the court Wednesday.”
Asked how close he was to 100 percent after knee surgery, Pietrus pointed to the watch of a reporter.
“You have a watch? Probably 48 hours,” Pietrus said. “I think I’ll be able to help my team. I went through practice with no pain. I told you guys I’d be ready to go in two weeks and two weeks came. I’m very happy I could go through practice with my teammates and get stuff done.”
Pietrus, who battled against the Celtics in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 with the Orlando Magic, said he’s happy to be wearing the green.
“It feels good,” he said. “Look around, there’s 17 banners so I’m in a great spot. I just want to work hard and be available for my team on Wednesday.”
|Could Mickael Pietrus be the final piece of Celtics roster?||12.23.11 at 9:51 am ET|
On Wednesday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers hinted that the team would keep one of their 15 roster spots open in case someone else was waived or bought out. On Thursday, the C’s waived three of their own players, bringing their count to 14 and sure enough, Phoenix elected to cut ties with Mickael Pietrus, a 6-foot-6 wing player, who would fit in nicely on a team that needs depth at both wing positions.
Pietrus still has to pass through waivers, but if he’s available he’d be an upgrade over whatever is left in the free agent market.
The 29-year-old Pietrus has had a consistent eight-year career in Golden State, Orlando and Phoenix. He takes a lot of 3′s and makes them at about a 36 percent clip. He’s developing a reputation as an offensive player who passes only as a last resort, but the Celtics could use a little of that on their second team (in moderation).
He’s also a willing defender with the required length and athleticism to be a versatile backup. He’s more of a defensive stopper in theory than a legit Bruce Bowen doppelganger, but the tools are there.
Pietrus was great in 2010 playoffs with the Magic, averaging better than 10 points a game and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range as Orlando advanced to the NBA finals, knocking off the Celtics in the second round in the process.
His departure from Phoenix is not without some controversy. He had surgery on his right knee in July after he was declared unable to play with the French national team. The Suns traded him to Toronto, but the deal was negated after he failed the physical.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry told the Arizona Republic, “He was really our kind of player — a big guy who can shoot. In order for it to be a good fit, you’ve got to want to be here and I’m not sure he was every fully engaged about being here.”
If his knee holds up, Pietrus would be a solid fit for the Celtics who need more depth on the wing and a proven backup to Ray Allen. They have four wing players behind Allen and Paul Pierce — Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic, Avery Bradley and E’Twuan Moore, and none of them is a proven 3-point threat. (He’d be an interesting fit, as well. Pietrus was involved in the Kevin Garnett-Channing Frye incident last season, throwing a left hand in the vicinity of Garnett’s thorax).
For all the concern about the lack of centers, the Celtics actually have six frontcourt players including rookie JaJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma behind the likely rotation of Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox. Their biggest need by far is depth on the wing behind Allen and Pierce and Pietrus is one of the few players available who could play both roles.
|Mickael Pietrus: ‘Celtics are interested in me’||07.07.11 at 10:10 am ET|
Four months after the Celtics could have used his services — and possibly avoided trading Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green — Suns swingman Mickael Pietrus is claiming the C’s are interested in him, according to French newspaper L’Équipe (via HoopsHype).
Phoenix didn’t use me, but that’s their problem. I’m going to continue working. The only thing I care about is winning a title. … A lot of teams are interested in me, like the Lakers or the Celtics. This came from the best player in the world: Kobe Bryant. He told me two months ago that he would like to see me with the Lakers.
It’s unclear whether the curiosity coming from Boston is new or just an aftereffect from the rumors that circled around Pietrus and fellow Suns swingmen Grant Hill and Jared Dudley before this past NBA trade deadline.
|Updated: No penalty for Perk||05.09.09 at 2:18 pm ET|
Update: The verdict is in from the NBA and there will be no suspension for Kendrick Perkins for Game 4 against the Magic, ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reports.
Sheridan reports that NBA will leave the Flagrant 1 call as it stands, which means Perkins will be in the lineup for Game 4.
The Celtics opted not to practice Saturday, and instead conducted a film session and walk-through at the team hotel in downtown Orlando. Topic number one on everyone’s mind was Perkins’s status after he was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul for hitting Orlando’s Mickael Pietrus up high during Friday’s Game 3.
“I didn’t even know who it was,” Perkins said. “I was just trying to get through a pick. It wasn’t like I saw Pietrus and tried to hit him with an elbow. It wasn’t nothing like that.”
The Magic have already had two players suspended during the playoffs. Dwight Howard was out for Game 6 of their first round series when he hit Philly Sam Delambert with an elbow and Rafer Alston was suspended for Game 3 of this series. LA’s Derek Fisher was suspended for Friday’s Game 3 of the Lakers-Rockets series, and all this has Doc Rivers more than a little ticked off. Read the rest of this entry »
|Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic||11.30.08 at 10:01 pm ET|
On Monday night the Boston Celtics (16-2) will take on the Orlando Magic (13-4) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The presence of Dwight Howard makes the Magic an Eastern Conference contender but, despite successful regular season records, Superman hasn’t been able to carry his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. After last season, the road to the championship goes through Boston and the Magic surely know it. Monday’s game could be a preview of a future postseason battle.
In the Last Five Games …
The Celtics enter this game on an eight-game winning streak while the Magic have won their last four. Both teams have been running up the scoreboard in the last five games. The Celtics have averaged 104.6 points while winning by an average 13.8 points; the Magic have averaging 102.8 ppg while winning by a less impressive 6.6 ppg. They have been nearly identical on the glass. Even though Howard leads the league in blocks, the Celtics have the slight advantage as of late. The Cs have also held their opponents to less than 18 assists per game, a troubling stat for the Magic who have been playing without point guard Jameer Nelson.
Dwight Howard looks to bring his show-stopping antics to Boston and dominate his way through the paint. Howard (21.8 ppg, 13.9 rpg, 3.9 bpg) will be a challenging match up for the foul-prone Kendrick Perkins. The only silver lining for the Celtics is Howard’s inconsistency at the free throw line (57.3% FT). He shot 21-42 in three games against the Cs last season.
All Banged Up
While this game could be a playoff preview, it will be without a handful of key players. The Magic’s Jameer Nelson (hip), Mickael Pietrus (thumb), and Keith Bogans (thumb) suffered early-season injuries. This leaves holes at the point guard spot, on the wing, and on the bench. The Celtics should expect to see more of shooting guards J.J. Redick and Courtney Lee. Veteran PG Anthony Johnson has been starting in place of Nelson and will try to contain the streaking Rajon Rondo. These injuries are depleting the Magic reserves and creating a daunting task to stop the Celtics deep bench.
In the past five games the Magic have held their opponents to a staggering 28% from three-point range. Their biggest challenge will be stopping Ray Allen, who is shooting 56% from downtown during that same stretch. On the contrary, Paul Pierce is shooting just 15.4%. Ironically Allen’s former teammate, forward Rashard Lewis, has the hot hand for the Magic (47.2% 3PG last five games). There’s also no telling if one time NCAA-phenom J.J. Redick will find his groove.
Check in with the WEEI Celtics Game Day Blog for all the latest from the Celtics-Magic match up.