Pierce happy teammates step up in his absence

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Pierce happy teammates step up in his absence

BOSTON -- Looking back, Elton Brand saw the missed opportunity.

When Paul Pierce fouled out with 4:16 to go in the fourth quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers were still within striking distance to overcome the Celtics three-point lead.

But they didnt.

We didn't attack those guys as aggressively as we should have with such a prolific scorer on the bench, Brand said after the Celtics 85-75 Game 7 win.

Instead, the Celtics rallied around their captain and pulled together a 14-7 run to close out the Eastern Conference Semifinals and advance to the Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

Pierce was frustrated to watch his team from the sidelines, but proud after he watched them pull together.

I was very disappointed, said Pierce (15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists). No one goes out there and tries to foul out. I want to be out there and play when my team needs me. But I was put in a situation to where the previous two fouls before that where I felt like I had to take fouls, didnt want to give up any easy buckets. At the end of the day, its all for the team. Our coach is always saying give yourself up for the team, and thats what I was trying to do.

With Pierce on the bench, Rondo scored the Celtics next nine points and the Celtics pushed the lead to 10 four times. They clamped down on defense and stopped the 76ers from putting together another streaky run like they had done at points throughout the series.

Rather than lamenting a season-ending loss without their captain down the stretch, the Celtics are looking ahead to their trip to South Beach Sunday morning.

It says a lot, said Pierce. With me out, one of our primary scoring options, guys came together, showed some resolve. Other guys stepped up defensively. Offensively, Rondo did what he had to do and were sitting here talking about going to Miami tomorrow. So its a great feeling, especially not being able to play the last few minutes.

C's Mickey sent to D-League

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C's Mickey sent to D-League

Jordan Mickey, inactive in five of the Boston Celtics’ last six games, has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the Development League.

“He’s been inactive in a few of these games here,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game at Philadelphia. “And rather than being inactive and being here in a suit and tie, we knew there was a hockey game this afternoon and it was going to be unlikely to get much action on the court at all today. So it made a lot more sense to play for a couple days and fly down to Houston and meet us.”

Mickey has appeared in just eight games this season, averaging 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

Tonight will be the former second-round pick’s 10th missed game this season, five in which he did not play (coaches decision) and another five in which he will be inactive.

The lack of playing time for the second-year player has more to do with Boston’s depth in the frontcourt than anything specific to his game.

“He’s done a good job,” Stevens said of Mickey. “It’s the same old thing that last year although we’re not quite as deep at that spot. But it’s still, at the end of the day we have to make a decision of, are we going to play more traditional or are we going to slide like a Jonas (Jerebko) or Jae (Crowder) over to the four (power forward) and play more spaced which limits the amount of bigs you can have in a game.

Stevens added, “he’s done a good job.  He’s made progress. I don’t think there’s any question we think he’s a guy that can help us not only down the road but this year.”

Mickey is in the lineup for the Red Claws’ game tonight against Santa Cruz and he’s also scheduled to play in Sunday’s game against the Raptors 905 with both games being televised via Facebook Live.

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