Pierce dealing with recent foul trouble

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Pierce dealing with recent foul trouble

ATLANTA If the Celtics are going to make the kind of end-of-the-season push they want to, chances are Paul Pierce will be a major cog in that effort.

But the captain can't do much if he's on the bench, a place that he has become far too familiar with lately.

Pierce fouled out of Boston's 98-91 loss at Denver on Saturday, and was in foul trouble before finishing with five fouls in Boston's 79-76 win at Atlanta on Monday.

Pierce had not fouled out all season before the Denver game, andhe only had one game (Jan. 22 at Washington) in which he was whistled for five personal fouls.

"I'm just getting caught with some tough calls that could go either way," Pierce said. "That's about it. I'm not worried about it."

Worrying about it won't do him or the Celtics any good.

But it is something he needs to be mindful of during this critical stretch of play for the short-handed Celtics.

While Pierce may not be worried, the same can not be said for his head coach, Doc Rivers.

It's one thing to pick up fouls that prevent easy scores, but Rivers sees many of Pierce's recent fouls, as being "silly."

"You just can't pick up silly fouls," Rivers said. "Three of his five (against Atlanta) were bad. I'm trying to get our team to understand, we don't have a margin for error."

Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) and Chris Wilcox (heart condition) are both out for the season, while a number of other Celtic players are battling an assortment of bumps and bruises.

And it's not just Pierce who has picked up bad fouls lately.

Against the Hawks, Rivers recalled a conversation he had with Kevin Garnett shortly after Garnett picked up an early foul in which he wrapped up an Atlanta player.

"I said, 'Kevin, we don't have fouls to give," Rivers recalled. "We're not 12-deep right now."

Rivers added, "We keep talking about it, but then you don't want to get in their way. You want them to play. Paul sets those open court picks for Rajon Rondo. He gets a (personal foul) call on that, and then he charges two, maybe three times."

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.