BOSTON -- The last time Paul Pierce scored 7 points was during a January 11 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Four months later, Pierce posted the same total, also during a Boston Celtics loss.
Pierce shot just 2-for-9 from the field during the Philadelphia 76ers' 82-81 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He scored twice that total in Game 1 on Saturday, and averaged 21.2 points per game against the Atlanta Hawks in the previous round.
Pierce, who has been battling a sprained MCL in his left knee, said his injury did not attribute to his performance.
"The knee was fine," he said. "I wore my knee brace today."
The 76ers aren't relying on an injury to slow down Pierce. Coach Doug Collins credited Andre Iguodala for restricting the Celtics captain.
As Ive said before, I feel like Andre Iguodala is a premiere defensive player at his position," said Collins. "We played Boston this year three times, we played Atlanta three times, and Indiana four times. And we had seven wins against those three teams, three premiere teams in the Eastern Conference. A big part of that was we have a guy that makes Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, or Danny Granger work hard every single night and we dont have to double team, and he fights through all the picks and he has long arms, and hes strong and hes quick."
Pierce has played this far into the postseason with an injury and won't use it as an excuse at any point.
"I never have doubts, you always think you're going to win," he said. "But unfortunately we didn't today."
BOSTON – Before Brad Stevens addressed the media before the Celtics faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday afternoon, he had to take a moment to make sure he wouldn’t forget anyone who wasn’t able to play.
Yeah, the list was a pretty long one.
Tyler Zeller, Demetrius Jackson and Jonas Jerebko will not play tonight due to sickness. And Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will also be out with a timetable that’s starting to feel like it’ll be longer than anyone would want.
“I don’t anticipate Avery this week at all,” Stevens said. “He still has some soreness. Obviously we’re concerned about the long-term impact of a sore Achilles; what it means on that foot but also what it means when you compensate off it. But he’ll be back when he’s ready but I think he’s still a little bit away.”
Bradley, the team’s top on-the-ball defender and No. 2 scorer this season at 17.7 points per game, will be out for the sixth time in the Celtics’ last seven games because of the Achilles injury.
Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart whose status for tonight’s game wasn’t a sure thing.
On the Celtics’ pregame notes package, Smart was listed as probable with a sore right ankle injury. I asked Stevens about Smart’s status a few minutes ago, and he said the 6-foot-4 Smart will play tonight.
In his 15 starts this season, Smart has averaged 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on 3's - all of which are better than what he produces when coming off the bench.
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