Pierce feeling better with 31 points vs. Nets


Pierce feeling better with 31 points vs. Nets

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON -- Looking back, Paul Pierce knew he wasnt going to be effective against the Miami Heat last Sunday. His one-point performance was disappointing, but not completely surprising.

Pierce was playing with a sore left foot and sprained right hand. Even though he was banged up, he couldnt resist the urge to help his team win.

It definitely bothers me, especially when I know I m not right, he said following Wednesdays 94-80 win over the New Jersey Nets. I told coach Doc Rivers I wasnt right, but I was playing through it. I knew I couldnt make a shot (laughs). It definitely bothers me, especially if Im out there trying to help my team win. Maybe next time Ill sit the game but its hard for me to sit, especially when my team is out there trying to win.

After two days rest -- and MRIs that yielded negative results -- Pierce was back at it again. This time, however, the end result was much different.

Pierce scored a game-high 31 points against the Nets, just two points shy of his season-high. He shot 10-for-18 from the field (compared to 0-for-10 against the Heat) and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line.

The performance has Pierce optimistic for further healing during the All-Star Break.

I felt better, he said. That was the main key -- getting some of my health back. This is a much-needed weekend (All-Star Weekend) for me, I think, just to get back healthy and some of the little nagging injuries that I have been dealing with the last few days. Its a good start heading into a direction for the better.

In spite of playing through pain, Pierce has proceeded with caution dealing with this injury. He seriously injured the same foot in the past and did not want to cause further problems.

When I had the situation a few years back when I broke my foot it was the same type of situation - some pain in my foot just walking around on it, he said. So I just really wanted to make sure I wasnt doing any further damage to it. Its getting better, I just got a bruise on the end of my foot.

Pierce was pleased he was able to cut more on Wednesday than he could on Sunday, and although he still felt some discomfort, he was looked forward to getting better with a few days off.

Its still a little bit of pain, he admitted. I think I feel it more now after the game than during the game because I think my adrenaline was really flowing. These few days of rest, the last few days, its gotten better so hopefully these next few days of rest will make it even better.

The Celtics continued to put their trust in their captain, who came through with a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter after missing his first four attempts. With a tight game down the stretch, they knew they could rely on him.

Hes back, said Rivers. Great players, they dont have a lot of back-to-back games, so that was terrific.

Pierce will compete in the Three-Point Shootout and play in the All-Star Game this weekend in Los Angeles. Nagging injuries aside, Pierce is confident about his chances at defending his title in the contest, even up against teammate and 3-point record holder, Ray Allen.

I only have one prediction, Pierce said. You all know.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.