Thibodeau: Team effort required to contain Pierce, Garnett


Thibodeau: Team effort required to contain Pierce, Garnett

BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau watched from the sidelines as Paul Pierce struggled.

The Boston Celtics captain shot 5-for-17 from the field against the Chicago Bulls, including 2-for-9 in the first half alone. Yet the Bulls head coach and former Celtics assistant coach saw something different than a tough shooting night. He saw the player who was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, one of the toughest competitors in the league, and a shooter who could not be left alone.

"A guy like Pierce, hes such a great scorer, he scores so many different ways, youve got to guard him with your team," Thibodeau said following the Bulls 100-99 overtime win. "He missed some shots he normally makes, but you have to make him play in a crowd and challenge his shots as much as you can. He still has the ability to make it even if you defend it well. He was off a little bit so that was our good fortune, but Pauls a great player. Hes been a great player for a long time.

"Every time he shoots the ball, I think its going in and he plays you at a great speed. You know hes always under control, he has great strength. People dont realize what a great athlete he is. So you guard him with your team."

Then there was Kevin Garnett, who shot 1-for-10 through three quarters and scored 13 points between the fourth quarter and overtime.

"Garnett just works the game," said Thibodeau. "The first half, nothings really going and then in the end, making big shots, big plays, he impacts the game in so many different ways. As does (Rajon) Rondo. Theyre so disruptive."

Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo are the only remaining members of the 2008 championship team. Thibodeau has experienced their talent firsthand and believes they have enough to drive the Celtics.

What he saw on the court Friday night isn't a reflection of how good he thinks they can be.

"The Celtics are a great team," he said. "I think (Avery) Bradley being out made it a little different for them, hes been playing well. But they have a lot of new players, who as you can see are getting more comfortable. And once they get some games together, this team is going to be very, very dangerous.

Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman


Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

Yes, four first-round picks for Jacob Trouba is crazy.

Yes, two firsts and David Pastrnak for Kevin Shattenkirk is stupid.

And, of course, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson is ridiculous. (Remember Bruins fans: As bad as it's been, it could be worse. Peter Chiarelli could still be here.)

No one is disputing that the asking price for good, young defensemen across the NHL has gone haywire. If you're acquiring one of those players, you are likely going to lose the deal, and that's no way to run a franchise.

But here's the question for the Bruins: What's the alternative? Do the Bruins want to try and win in the Patrice Bergeron window or not?

That's what it comes down to for the B's. Bergeron will turn 31 in three weeks, and while he may have plenty of seasons left, his time as one of the best two-way players in the NHL is certainly more finite. He will likely be out of that elite status by the time anyone currently in the B's system develops into the type of No. 1 defenseman the team so desperately needs -- if there's even anyone who fits that description in the first place.

In other words, if the B's want a top-pairing defenseman anytime soon, they're going to have to pay for it. Or overpay for it. Draft picks. Players. Offer sheets. Whatever. Something unappealing is going to have to go out the door.

If there's another way, I'd like to know what it is. There's virtually nothing to choose from in the unrestricted pool. And everyone on the current depth chart is either too old, too young or too crappy.

So four first-rounders and a $7 million annual cap hit for Trouba? That's an impossible price to wrap your head around, until you consider the alternatives.

Ideally, the B's are using that Jets offer sheet threat as a leverage play, an attempt to create options in hopes the Blues lower their ask on Shattenkirk, or the Ducks lower their price on Cam Fowler. Maybe the B's have been trying to work a trade with the Jets for Trouba himself and are just bringing a hammer to the table. Lower your demands or we'll offer sheet him. Perhaps that offer sheet isn't even a realistic consideration and is nothing more than noise.

I have no idea. The only thing I know is that the B's still stink on D.

The players they have drafted the last few years may not be any good, and if they are it will be a half-decade before they're capable of playing the kind of playoff minutes necessary to contend for a Cup. The Bruins keep saying they want to contend now, which is pretty much impossible given the personnel on the blue line.

So what do they want? To wait for the kids and blow the rest of Bergeron's prime? Or give up an exorbitant price in a deal they'll very likely lose?

I'd probably lean towards the later, but there's really no right answer. It's called Bruins.

Email Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz daily from 2-6 p.m. The simulcast runs on CSN.


Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Kevin Durant’s weekend of free agent visits has come into focus on the final day of June.

According to David Aldridge of, the Boston Celtics will be meeting with the free agent superstar on Saturday.

After meeting with Durant on Saturday, the Celtics should have a better idea if they will need to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before Sunday's July 3 deadline. Waiving the duo would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.