TORONTO Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers liked what he saw out of Mickael Pietrus, who returned to the C's lineup on Wednesday after being out since March 23 because of a concussion.
He's looking for more of the same tonight when the Celtics face on the Toronto Raptors.
And like so many of the C's games this season, they will once again be short-handed with Ray Allen (ankle) out.
As for Pietrus, his play in Boston's 88-86 overtime win far exceeded Rivers' expectations both in terms of production (eight points, six rebounds) and minutes played (29). Pietrus was indeed a key player in the Celtics' victory, evident by the Celtics being plus-11 (that was the second-highest on the team) when he was on the floor against the Hawks.
"It's great to have him back," C's guard Avery Bradley told CSNNE.com. "He's a great shooter, great defender. Having him only makes us better, a tougher team to beat."
Said Rivers: "He looked good, he felt great. He said he felt normal. That's good."
While Pietrus told CSNNE.com following the win that he had put in extra work conditioning his body so that he wouldn't be too winded once he returned, look for him to continue to get in extra conditioning work between now and the playoffs.
"He worked out a little bit more yesterday, trying to get his legs back in playing shape," Rivers said. "I think these next three games will help that."
After tonight's game at Toronto, the C's play at New Jersey on Saturday and at Charlotte on Sunday.
"It's good to have him back," Rivers said.