Led by Pierce, C's win 87-80

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Led by Pierce, C's win 87-80

ATLANTA The Boston Celtics weren't perfect. They made mistakes, turned the ball over and for stretches, couldn't make shots.

It doesn't matter.

Paul Pierce and company would not be denied as the Celtics rallied for an 87-80 Game 2 win over the Atlanta Hawks to even the series at one game each with Games 3 and 4 headed back to the Garden.

With the win, Boston now has home court advantage in the best-of-seven series.

While it was truly a team win, it was Pierce leading the charge from the outset. He finished with a game-high 36 points and 14 rebounds for his 22nd career playoff double-double.

The C's spent most of the game trailing, but as they've done so many times, they proved to be a resilient bunch.

There was no mistaking that the Celtics were playing a better brand of basketball compared to their Game 1 struggles, especially in their transition defense.

In addition, Boston also got a more aggressive start by Paul Pierce who scored Boston's first nine points.

The C's spent most of the first quarter with the lead, but a 5-2 spurt by the Hawks to close out the quarter led to a 24-all tie going into the second quarter.

After a slew of defensive stops and an occasional basket, Boston strung together back-to-back baskets to take a 34-29 lead before Hawks coach Larry Drew called a time-out.

The stoppage in play was just what Atlanta needed as the Hawks reeled off nine straight to take a 38-34 lead and eventually went into the half ahead, 44-41.

For Boston, Pierce was carrying the scoring load in the first half with 16 points which was impressive considering the defensive help he was looking for in the first half from Mickael Pietrus was nowhere to be found for most of the first half.

Pietrus, in the starting lineup because of Rajon Rondo's one game suspension for making contact with an official, was whistled for three fouls in the first four minutes of play and spent the bulk of the half on the bench.

As for the Hawks, it was Jeff Teague keeping them afloat for key stretches in the first half in which he had 12 points and four rebounds. Josh Smith, who ate the Celtics alive in Game 1, was trending towards a triple-double with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in the first half.

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”