Bruins

Pierce searching for rhythm in new Celtics offense

938153.jpg

Pierce searching for rhythm in new Celtics offense

CHICAGO Much of the Boston Celtics' slower-than-expected start has been attributed to the new guys and their understanding and implementation of the team's defensive principles.

But that doesn't explain why Paul Pierce has been so up and down thus far this season.

After alternating lackluster scoring nights with impressive performances throughout Boston's first four games, Pierce has looked like himself in the last two games.

He was especially impressive on Saturday in tallying 25 points in Boston's win over Milwaukee.

Pierce attributes some of his inconsistent play to still figuring out and getting accustomed to the changes in the C's offense this season.

"I'm starting to get a better rhythm, starting to understand where my shots are going to come from in the offense," Pierce said. "We changed a lot of things in the offense this year."

Especially in terms of his role. The 6-foot-8 wing is accustomed to having a steady dose of plays involving him isolating a player, or taking them down into the paint. But those plays, while still a part of what the Celtics do with Pierce, aren't as plentiful this season.

"Before, I probably posted up a lot more," Pierce said.

Now, he says he spends more time on the perimeter in addition to, "coming off screens a lot more than I have in the past."

Because of his perimeter-shooting skills, this allows him to put more stress on a team defensively with them unsure if he's looking to score on a jumper, drive to the basket or set teammates up.

While it does require him to move without the ball more than usual, fewer post-ups means less of a pounding for his body to absorb. And that can lead to results like the ones seen Saturday night when Pierce was fresh as can be in leading the Celtics in the game's final minutes.

"Paul's a Hall of Fame player," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "They (Celtics) spread the floor a couple times and Paul got it going."

Against the Bucks, it seemed Pierce's strong second half was fueled by a baseline, two-handed dunk just seconds into the third quarter.

"l'm a scorer," Pierce said. "Once I see a basket go in or a couple easy ones, that can light my fire. I just played within the flow of the game. Guys were finding me, I got a good rhythm going. I mixed it up with drives, jumpers. That's the way I play."

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

BRIGHTON, Mass – It wouldn’t be a Bruins game this season if there weren’t some health question marks entering a game night, so the B’s will once again have a few players up in the air for the lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

http://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/bruins-goalie-decisions-may-become-tougher-you-might-think?int

MORE:

David Krejci (back) and Kevan Miller (upper body) were both on the ice prior to morning skate and Krejci participated in the optional practice, along with Patrice Bergeron and a handful of others on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. Krejci and Miller were termed game-time decisions based on the way things went this morning and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy could have more lineup juggling in front of him based on those players.

Krejci said he was taking things “day-by-day”, but didn’t think it was going to be a long-term injury even if he misses the game.

“We’ll kind of take it day-by-day and we’ll see. I feel better than two days ago, so I guess we’ll be taking it day-by-day,” said Krejci. “I got hit in the last game and that forced me to leave the game. It’s a brand new injury and it just happened the other day. So that’s what it is.

“I don’t think it’s an injury that would be long term. It’s just one of these things that happens [during the games]. I wouldn’t lie to you if it was something that was a week or two weeks. We’ll just see how I feel later tonight. Injuries happen to every team. Hopefully, this is it for us here early in the season, and down the stretch, we’ll be healthy pushing for the playoffs.”

First the definite situations for the Black and Gold: Bergeron will play for the second game in a row and Paul Postma will be in the lineup, with Adam McQuaid shelved for the next couple of months with a broken leg. Beyond that, the Bruins could swing Miller from the left side to the right side if he plays, Charlie McAvoy could be added to the penalty kill and David Backes could end up playing some center if Matt Beleskey draws back into the lineup.

“We’ll probably move people around. [David] Backes, [Tim] Schaller has played some center over the years and obviously [Patrice] Bergeron looks like he’s going to play,” said Cassidy. “I think we’ll be okay. We sat out a forward the [Thursday vs. the Canucks], so we’ll move people around.

“Kevan will be a game-time decision, so we had a discussion about that and we’ll look into that as well. [Krejci] got hit in the lower back the other night, tried to finish and it’s one of those ones where at puck drop we’ll know.”

Robbie O’Gara popped on the Bruins roster on their team website early on Saturday afternoon, so the Yale alum will get the call if Miller can’t answer the bell on Saturday night. Another piece of good news: Noel Acciari skated with the injured players ahead of the morning skate and appears to be progressing slowly from his broken finger.  

Anything, it seems, is possible for these banged-up B’s as another body drops with each passing game or practice. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Sabres based on an optional morning skate:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Schaller-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Kuraly-Agostino

 
Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

O’Gara/Miller-Postma

 
Khudobin