Confident Moore gets hot at right time for Celtics

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Confident Moore gets hot at right time for Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. As shot after shot swished through the net, there was never any doubt in the Boston Celtics' mind that E'Twaun Moore could shoot the ball.

But there was just one problem.

All those made baskets, baskets that came in a variety of in-game situations, came in practice.

That all changed Thursday night as Moore came up with one clutch basket after another as the Celtics rallied for a 91-83 win.

Paul Pierce had a game-high 24 points, 19 of which came in the second half. But this was E'Twaun Moore's night, as the rookie responded with a career-high 16 points, which included him connecting on all four of his 3-point attempts.

"The other night, we won because of Avery's Bradley defense," said coach Doc Rivers. "Tonight, we won because of E'Twaun's defense and E'Twaun's offense. For a rookie in this atmosphere, that was sensational."

Pierce was among the many Celtic players to praise the rookie and maybe even more important, leave no doubt that he was confident Moore would come through down the stretch.

"I told him on the court that when they double me, you better shoot the ball," Pierce recalled after leading the C's from 27 points down. "He displayed a lot of confidence, especially on the play where he went one-on-one and shot the lay-up (in the fourth quarter). That just shows he is gaining more confidence."

But the funny thing about Moore.

Despite being a rookie, a second-round one at that, Moore has never shown any signs of lacking confidence in his game.

"He's a cocky little kid, but in a good way," Rivers said. "And that's good."

During training camp, Moore set himself apart as one of the team's best shooters.

How good?

"After Ray Allen, he was our best shooter," Rivers said.

But prior to Thursday night, you wouldn't have known that by the way Moore shot the ball.

Prior to making all four of his 3-point attempts on Thursday, Moore had missed 12 of his 14 on the season. From the field, he was connecting on just 24.3-percent of his shots from the floor prior to Thursday's 5-for-6 shooting performance.

Moore says his confidence never went away, but having his teammates constantly encourage him to keep on shooting only made it stronger.

"They have just been telling me to stay with it, and stay with it and stay confident," Moore said. "I kept working and said they are going to start to fall. Today was a good day and hopefully I will have some more of those."