Pierce bringing it with playoffs approaching

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Pierce bringing it with playoffs approaching

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The playoffs are going to be here before you know it.

No Boston Celtics player seems to understand this better than Paul Pierce, who delivered yet another big-game performance in leading the C's to a 102-95 win at Charlotte.

Pierce finished with a season-high 36 points in addition to grabbing 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season.

With the victory, the Celtics (27-22) move into a tie atop the Atlantic Division with Philadelphia which was idle on Monday.

'Idle' is certainly not a word anyone would use to describe Pierce's play in recent weeks.

While Pierce's attack-mode mentality was present from the opening tip-off on Monday against the Bob-kitties, uh, Bobcats, he has been approaching games with a go-for-the-jugular mindset for a while now. He's averaging 18.6 points per game this season, but has dropped more than 22 per game in the month of March. He has five games with 30 or more points scored, three of which have come in March.

"I been feeling that way for the last couple of weeks now," Pierce said. "It's that point of the year, we're 40, 50 games in so I think it's important that I start getting into a comfortable flow heading into the playoffs."

The most clear example of his aggressive, attacking nature on Monday was seen in him getting to the free throw line a season-high 18 times.

"From the beginning of the game he was in attack mode," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "That is why you have great players. One of them steps up and you can win a game."

Pierce indeed stepped up for the Celtics, and in the process, stomped out any hopes the Bobcats (7-40) had of rallying for a win.

Throughout the game, every mini-surge by Charlotte was countered with a big shot, or a big pass or a rebound, by Pierce.

"It makes it easier for everybody when he's attacking like that," Brandon Bass, told CSNNE.com.

Pierce's knack for getting to the line opened the free throw floodgates for his Celtics teammates, as Boston shot a season-high 45 free throws - that's 11 more than their previous high set against Oklahoma City on Feb. 22.

"I just wanted to take advantage of opportunities," Pierce said. "I saw lanes. I just tried to mix it up between driving, and taking the jump-shot."

And that kept the Bobcats defense off-balance all game, which in turn allowed Boston to pull away for a victory that now has them tied atop the Atlantic Division for the first time this season.

"It's good, but at the same time we haven't beat Philadelphia yet," Pierce said. "If it comes down to a tie record, they have the advantage on us. So it's good for now, but we still have a lot more ball to play."

Friday, Sept. 30: It's all Bruins in World Cup final

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Friday, Sept. 30: It's all Bruins in World Cup final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while taking a nap this afternoon so I can watch the 1:30 am replay of tonight’s Bruins/Red Wings game on the NHL Network.

*Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara scored the goals at the World Cup’s decisive game on Thursday night, and No. 63 got the clutch game-winner late in the third period for Team Canada. Then he watched as linemate Sidney Crosby won the MVP for the tournament in what could be perceived, from a Boston point of view, as a largely Canadian-based hockey media fawning over Sid the Kid once again. Look, he was the tournament’s leading scorer, but last night’s heroics probably should have tipped the scales toward the B’s agitator getting the World Cup hardware.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford has Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm seeking an eight year deal from his team. That could be another contract negotiation to watch closely if you’re a Bruins fan.

*Zach Werenski, one of the D-men the Bruins were trying to trade up to get two years ago in the first round of the draft, is looking like he might be NHL-ready for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

*Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is holding out with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and just wants to get paid like the rest of his teammates.

*Marian Hossa says he still wants to play hockey when he’s 42 years old, or close to the age that countrymen Zdeno Chara is right now.

*Here are some preseason college hockey storylines with the world of NCAA hockey about to start up in force.

*A judge has ruled that the family of the late Derek Boogaard may pursue a lawsuit against the NHL over the death of their son.

*For something completely different: “Tex Ryan” takes his jokes to open mic night and I’m fairly this is Toucher and Rich skewering the Buffalo Bills head coach. And rightfully so.

 

 

Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

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Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

FOXBORO - Scratch the estimable Sammy Watkins from the Bills roster for Sunday. 

Buffalo shared via Twitter that their long, tall wideout is out for Sunday with a foot injury. Also down are wideout Greg Salas and left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo.

The Bills' starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has been dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week's game. 

Robert Woods will be the Bills best outside threat with Watkins taking Sunday off. The Bills' talented corner Ronald Darby is also trying to get back this week from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss last week's game with Arizona.