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Paul Pierce gets attitude adjustment and Celtics pull away 03.01.13 at 11:53 pm ET
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Doc Rivers saw it. Paul Pierce knew it.

The Celtics captain was sulking in the third quarter as the Warriors came out fast and took the lead after Boston controlled most of the first half.

Both knew it had to change and fast.

‘€œYeah, I think I was the one that kind of brought the body tone down a little bit, because I made some bad turnovers there to start the third quarter, kind of got me down,” Pierce said. “So it was up to me to kind of get it back, get the team back on. That’€™s what I try to do, I cant have any lapses like that because it really affect the team and I realize that, so I have to do a better job in that department.’€

“He started out playing great and then when I subbed him and brought him back in, I don’t know what happened. We were turning the ball over and he was struggling,” Rivers said. “It was funny, in the third quater, the only thing I told him was I don’t care that you’re not playing well in this stretch or we’re not, I just hate our body language right now. And I give Paul a lot of credit, he basically said, ‘That’s on me. That’s my fault.’

“I thought we were hanging our heads a lot in the third quarter. We were turning the ball over and we were missing shots. The end of the world is not going to happen. We just have to keep playing. I didn’t like the way we responded to that and I thought Paul did a good job in the timeout right after that of getting the guys back.”

Pierce finished with a game-high 26 points in Boston’s 94-86 win over Stephen Curry and the Warriors Friday night at TD Garden.

‘€œIt was good,” Pierce said. “You play a quality ball club who’s playoff-bound who’€™s very dangerous in the West, capable of beating anybody. Sometimes that first game at home feels like a road game, your body is readjusting. You know you haven’€™t been in this building in a couple of weeks, so sometimes its difficult. We were a little sloppy with the ball, but it’€™s a good win nevertheless.”

The Celtics actually went into a zone defense when Avery Bradley went out with his fifth foul with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

‘€œI think it really bothered them,” Pierce said. “They’€™re a great one-on-one team who really thrives on taking you off the dribble, making an extra pass, shooting the three-ball’€¦.I think it altered their offense a little bit once we got into the zone. It was really effective, especially in the second half.’€

Jeff Green took a hard spill on his left side midway through the third and when he returned, the Celtics went on a 9-0 run to pull away for good late in the third.

‘€œHe was awesome tonight,” Pierce said of Green, who finished with 18 points. “He really carried us in that fourth quarter, took it upon himself to be aggressive. You know, he’€™s coming into his own, after a slow start, which you can expect. Its tough when you take a year off from basketball and try to get back in the game, but I think since January he’€™s just been phenomenal, very consistent doing what we ask on both ends of the court, and he’€™s getting better and better as time goes on.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Golden State Warriors, Jeff Green
Fast Break: Paul Pierce in a golden state in win over Warriors at 10:07 pm ET
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Paul Pierce (26 points) and Jeff Green (18 points) were the only Celtics in double figures, but they earned payback for a 101-83 loss to the Warriors two months ago, holding off Golden State for a 94-86 victory.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Bradley vs. Curry: Avery Bradley set the tone against Warriors counterpart Stephen Curry, coming off his 54-point effort against the Knicks. Bradley limited Curry to 0-for-1 shooting and forced a pair of turnovers in the opening 10:12. The C’s pit bull was so far up in Curry’s grill he must’ve known what the Warriors guard ate pregame. Of course, Curry found ways to get his points (25), particularly at the free throw line, and forced Bradley into five fouls in 21 minutes, but the message was sent in a game that saw the Warriors shoot 34 percent.

Old man Pierce: The Celtics captain broke out just about every move in his bag of veteran tricks, baiting defenders into fouling him on jumpers and carving through defenders in slow motion. Pinched nerve be damned, Pierce contorted his way into a handful of improbable layups. He finished the first half with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Needless to say, the C’s led 50-46 at the break.

Mean Jeff Green: After falling hard on his left arm and remaining on the floor during a few scary minutes midway through the third quarter, Green climbed to his feet and walked to the Celtics bench, where he shook off the pain and covered it in a padded sleeve. He proceeded to convert his next four shots, including three jumpers, to help turn a 60-60 game late in the third into a double-digit lead early in the fourth.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Everything Crawford: The only air Jordan Crawford got was the breeze he felt when Stephen Curry blew past his saloon-door defense. He played three feet off Harrison Barnes five feet from the basket. In other words, Crawford’s defense came as advertised: Practically non-existent. And his offense wasn’t much better, as he finished 2-of-6 in 17 minutes, including a couple ill-advised pull-up jumpers in transition.

Terry-ble: As soon as it appears Jason Terry might be getting comfortable in the Celtics offense, he submits a game like Friday night, when he missed 9-of-11 attempts in 30 minutes. When Rajon Rondo suffered his season-ending ACL injury, Terry insinuated he might benefit from a less Rondominated offense. Not so much.

KG’s shot: A week ago, when he rested Kevin Garnett against the Suns, Celtics coach Doc Rivers claimed KG hasn’t been the same since the triple-overtime Nemo blizzard victory against the Nuggets. After solid performances against the Blazers and Jazz, Garnett grabbed his share of rebounds and met his quota for profanity-laced outbursts against the Warriors, but his shot wasn’t falling. Garnett finished 2-for-10 from the floor.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Jeff Green, NBA
Teamwork: Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee pick it up in win over Warriors at 10:00 pm ET
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Paul Pierce scored 26 points and Jeff Green added 18 off the bench as the Celtics overcame foul trouble from Avery Bradley to beat the Golden State Warriors, 94-86, Friday night at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett was just 2-for-10 from the field but finished with a team-high 13 rebounds. The Celtics avenged their ugly 101-83 loss from late December in Oakland. Pierce and Green were the only Boston players to score in double figures.

Stephen Curry scored 54 points earlier in the week in New York against the Knicks, a season-high in the NBA this season. He had scored 94 points in his previous two games but was held to 25 points on Friday night on just 6-of-22 shooting, as the Celtics (31-27) won their eighth straight home game. David Lee had 10 points and a game-best 19 rebounds for the Warriors, who fall to 33-26.

The Celtics used hot shooting early to build a 13-point first-quarter lead. Pierce led the way with 13 points in the opening period. Pierce finished with 18 in the first half. The Warriors, mostly behind the scoring of Curry, worked their way back into the game in the second quarter. Curry drew three fouls on Bradley in the first half and scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Warriors cut Boston’s lead to 50-46 at the half.

The Warriors scored the first two baskets of the third quarter and tied the game. The tide seemed to be turning heavily against the Celtics when Bradley – the player assigned to defend Curry – picked up his fourth and fifth fouls of the game in a 27-second span of the third quarter and had to check out with 8:01 left in the quarter after his fifth foul.

Courtney Lee stepped in and shutdown Curry as the star scored just two points against Lee and the Celtics in the period. The Celtics had another scare when Green landed hard on his left elbow midway through the third and stayed on the ground for several minutes. After coming off the floor on his own power, Green was given a white protective sleeve and returned with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

With Green back and Bradley in foul trouble, the Celtics took command of the game for good, going on a 9-0 run to break a 60-60 tie and take a 69-62 lead into the fourth.

The Celtics are off until Tuesday when they play in Philadelphia. For more from the team of Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach from the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry, Tom Brady and the NBA All-Defensive power of Avery Bradley 02.28.13 at 6:33 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers and captain Paul Pierce both had high praise for Avery Bradley before Thursday’s practice. The C’s guard will have the unenviable task Friday of guarding Warriors counterpart Stephen Curry, who scored 54 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

  • Pierce: ‘€œI think every great team needs a player like that, especially a great defensive team. With so many great scorers in this league and great individual play, you need that one guy who can go out there and kind of slow those types of guys down. We have that in Avery Bradley. He’€™s shown a willingness to sacrifice so much. I believe he can give us a lot more defensively, but he’€™s so great on the defensive end that it has an impact on this whole team. You don’€™t have to double as much, you don’€™t have to give as much help when you’€™ve got a guy like that who can defend at a high level. In my eyes, he’€™s probably the best on-the-ball defender in the NBA. I’€™d be very surprised if he didn’€™t make the All-Defensive Team.’€
  • Rivers: ‘€œThey’€™re picking him now. They’€™re getting him off of [his assignments], and that’€™s what they should do, but it’€™s nice to have a guy that can pressure the ball. I don’€™t know if Avery’€™s going to shut down everyone, but I know he’€™s going to give you the attempt to pressure, and ball pressure is important. I just use a football analogy: If you didn’€™t blitz Tom Brady and you just let him sit back there all day, he’€™s going to pick you apart. It’€™s the same in basketball. If you let the passers just sit there with no pressure, they’€™re going to pick you apart. And Avery is our blitzer.’€

For more on the NBA All-Defensive case for Bradley, read this column.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
Danny Ainge: Big part of the second half involves getting Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce healthy at 5:24 pm ET
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In his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked about a variety of topics, including why Boston didn’t make more deals at the trade deadline and the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Ainge was asked as to whether he was concerned at all about the fatigue level of Pierce and Garnett, the latter of whom sat out Friday’s game against the Suns.

“Yes, I always am. Paul and KG have been incredibly durable throughout their entire careers,” Ainge said. “They take good care of themselves, but I do think that they need rest. If we have any chance of winning playoff basketball games, we need those guys fresh, healthy. Paul’s neck thing I think comes and goes, but there was a stretch I think when we were in that losing streak, I actually think that might have been one of the biggest factors. Paul was not 100 percent and yet he continued to play. That’s just who Paul is.

“I think Doc is determined to cut those guys’ minutes down now that we have a little bit more depth on the bench and we get some more bodies in here. That’s a big part of the second half of the season — getting them healthy.”

Ainge also talked about the remarkable run of LeBron James, calling him the “best player in our game today, without question. When it’s all said and done, he could be one of the best players of all time.”

“He’s one of those guys, the first time I ever saw him, in the first five minutes, I questioned whether he could be one of the best basketball players who ever lived,’ recalled Ainge. “And he was 17 years old at the time and he had a similar body — he’s probably 10 or 15 pounds heavier now, but he was so gifted, because he not only could shoot, pass and dribble, but he was the smartest guy on the court. The most intense guy on the court. The most unselfish guy on the court.

“I’ve been one of those people who know that LeBron is not perfect, and he’s been under the microscope since he’s been a young man. I think he’s done a pretty good job handling all this stuff and he continues to get better. Now, people are having to have the conversation about him and Michael Jordan. I think it’s still too early, but he’s getting better. And like Michael, now he’s starting to make mid-range jump shots, 3-point shots, and he’s virtually unguardable with one person. You need two and three people to guard him. If he’s making shots, you just have to tip your cap and pray that he misses.”

Here are some more highlights of the Q&A:
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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
Paul Pierce: Pinched nerve causing ‘up-and-down’ performance, will last ‘until the season’s over’ at 1:10 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Two weeks, Celtics president Danny Ainge divulged during a game broadcast that Paul Pierce had been playing through a pinched nerve in his neck for two months, and before Thursday’s practice the C’s captain admitted the pain will continue for the rest of the season, if not longer.

“I probably won’€™t be fully recovered from it until the season’€™s over, if I ever do,” said Pierce. “I’€™ve probably got a little bit of nerve damage in the back part of my neck, but it’€™s something I’€™ve been playing through over the last couple months, so I’€™m probably about as healthy as I’€™m probably going to be for the rest of the season right now.”

Pierce shot below 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range in January, and while those numbers improved this month, he’s having his worst shooting season in nearly a decade, making just 41.9 percent of his field goals after converting better than 44 percent in each of his previous five seasons.

“I really don’€™t try to pay attention to it during the game,” he said. “I don’€™t let little injuries try to affect me. I don’€™t really think about it. It’€™s probably been the reason I’€™ve been up-and-down a lot. Sometimes you get a sharp pain. There are times when I have a stinger go through the same part of my neck where the pain is happening, and it’€™s happening a lot more than normal, whether it be in practice or a game, so it’€™s something I’€™ll deal with after the season.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce,
Doc Rivers on D&C: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett will be ‘great when the playoffs start’ at 11:26 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about Stephen Curry‘s performance vs. the Knicks, the big win on Monday against the Jazz and more Celtics news.

The Celtics are on track to make their sixth straight postseason appearance, and Rivers is confident aging veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be playing well once they get there.

“I think they’ll be great when the playoffs start,” Rivers said. “I think they’ll be better because there’s more rest, and our key is to get them there fresh.

“I thought that it may have had something to do with Danny [Ainge] not making a trade or doing a trade. I just don’t think anything was out there that appealed to him.”

Curry, Golden State’s sharpshooting guard, dropped 54 points against the Knicks on Wednesday night, albeit in a 109-105 Warriors loss. The 54 points are a season-high for the NBA this season.

“That was special to watch,” Rivers said, adding: “Some of the shots he was making were spectacular. ‘€¦ The way he shot the ball and the shots he got — he’s just a great shooter. He’s the best shooter in our league.”

Added Rivers: “When a guy gets in a zone like that, it’s just hard. It’s so easy to say, ‘Deny him,’ but he’s a point guard, so he always has the ball in his hands for the most part. That’s what makes it so difficult. Everyone else who are off the ball, you have a better chance. But a guy with the ball, in that zone, that’s hard.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
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