Celtics

Pietrus not concerned about shooting struggles

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Pietrus not concerned about shooting struggles

BOSTON Long-ball hitters and big-shot makers are one in the same.

When they start to struggle, they begin to seek out that one hit, that one shot, that'll hopefully get their game back on track.

That's where Boston's Mickael Pietrus is right now.

Boston has a 1-0 series lead over Philadelphia in their second-round matchup, but it had little to do with Pietrus' shooting.

The 6-foot-6 veteran missed both of his 3-point shot attempts, each kissing every part of the rim before rolling out.

Unfortunately for Pietrus and the C's, it's been that kind of postseason for him this year.

In seven playoff games, Pietrus is shooting 23.5 percent from the field and 13.3 percent on threes while averaging 1.4 points per game.

Whether it's in the classroom or on the basketball court, a 1.4 average is simply not going to cut it.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is well aware of Pietrus' shooting woes.

"I want him to keep shooting," Rivers said. "The only thing I did tell him (in Game 1 against Philadelphia), the one time, I said, 'You can drive, too.' I think right now he's searching for that one. You almost feel like he's Albert Pujols trying to hit his first home run, you know? You just start putting more stress on yourself than you probably have to."

As poorly as Pietrus has shot the ball, don't look for his playing time to be cut anytime soon.

"The one thing I will say about him is the other end hasn't changed," Rivers said. "He's still defending. And that's good; that's a mature player that he doesn't get so down on offense that he stops doing his job. His job for us is defense."

And it is a job that Pietrus has embraced, even with the reputation he earned in Orlando as a big-shot maker in the playoffs.

"Sometimes you are not going to make shots," Pietrus said. "But you always have to stay confident. Because fourth quarter, you never know the situation. The ball could be in your hands and you have to make shots. I been there before. You know already what I can do."

On top of struggling with his shot, Rivers revealed following Saturday's win that Pietrus has some swelling in his knee.

"I don't worry about that swelling," Pietrus said. "At the end of the day, I am going to fight for my team."

Pietrus added, "I been in the playoffs before. I know what it takes. The Boston Celtics, they never lead the league in scoring."

That's why his focus coming into the series was to provide as much defensive support as possible, and every now and then sprinkle in a basket or two.

"Play hard defense and do what you can to win basketball games," Pietrus said. "That's what we need from everybody."

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
 
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
 
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
 
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
 
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
 
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
 
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.