Pierce plays bigger than the rest in Sunday's win


Pierce plays bigger than the rest in Sunday's win

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce believes great players step up in close games.
On Sunday afternoon against the New York Knicks, he once again showed why he is one of them.
Pierce led all players in scoring with 34 points (13-23 FG, 4-7 3PG, 4-5 FT), but it was a single bucket that prevented the Celtics from leaving the court with a loss after leading by as many as 15 points.
In a back-and-forth battle with five ties and seven lead changes, the Celtics fought back from a halftime deficit to lead 80-72 entering the fourth quarter. The Knicks, though, were looking to reclaim the game.
They scored 31 points in the fourth and took a 101-100 lead with just under a minute left in regulation. Pierce missed a jumper with 19 seconds left that would have put the Celtics up 102-101. On the next possession, Steve Novak made a pair of free throws to push the Knicks edge to three points.
Trailing 103-100, Kevin Garnett handed the ball off to Pierce at the top of the arc. He pulled up for a three with 4.9 seconds to go and drained the game-tying bucket over rookie Iman Shumpert.
The Celtics went on to win, 115-111, in overtime.
I got to a spot where I like to get the shot off from, Pierce said. Maybe rushed it a little bit, but it felt good coming off my hand. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they dont. But I had another opportunity, another crack at it, and I always say, if at first you dont succeed try again.
Head coach Doc Rivers was not pleased that this team had squandered the lead but in the end, his team came through with the win even if it wasnt always pretty.
Paul made a good shot, he said. I thought that the last play -- really the start of it was the play after that -- it was hully gully or whatever you want to call it. We just told our guys to keep handing it off until somebody got free and Paul made a big shot.
Knicks head coach Mike DAntoni watched Carmelo Anthony give the Knicks the lead less than a minute earlier, and then saw Pierce take it away just as quickly.
I dont know if thats execution, thats having a horseshoe up your rear, he said. Thats what Paul Pierce does, though. He hit a hard shot, thats what he does. Melo hits one, thats what he does. Paul hit one, he hit a dagger. You got to give him credit with that, but theres no execution with that one. Thats just going out and making a shot.
It is never ideal for a player to have to save a game with seconds left on the clock, but after nearly 1,000 contests in the NBA, Pierce doesnt mind it.
I guess theyre better than blowouts, theyre more fun, Pierce said of close games. The great players, they really like to play in these types of games. They like to step up as you saw tonight. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, (Rajon) Rondo, myself, Melo (Carmelo Anthony) hit some big shots. Thats what makes the game of basketball and these type of games versus New York so fun because you always see the great players rise to the finish.

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Roughly 12 hours after embattled Bruins coach Claude Julien bristled at a question about his job security and labeled it “shock journalism” in the heat of the moment after a tight loss to the Blackhawks, the B’s bench boss delivered a classy, heartfelt response to the same question.

Julien was asked about it in French by a reporter from the Montreal Gazette, but answered in English because of the “loyalty he feels to the people in Boston.”

In essence, Julien basically said he should be relieved of his duties if he’s deemed to be behind what ails the Black and Gold, but he’s going to keep working to fix things until that day comes.

It was exactly the kind of response you would expect from a coach who's taken the B’s to the mountaintop in his 10 years running the team and will always be respected and loved in Boston long after his coaching days are done.

“How do I deal with all of the rumors and all that is going on? I didn’t feel like [Friday night] was the appropriate time for me to answer that after a game where you’re emotions are pretty high. I wasn’t getting into that, but to be honest with you my job is to coach the hockey club,” said Julien. “Am I worried about my job? No, I’m not. Because it’s not my job to worry about it. My job is to fix things, and my job is to coach this team and do everything I can. If I become one of the reasons that we’re not doing well, then management has to make that decision.

“It’s not my decision to make. I’m not quitting on this team. I’m not quitting on anybody. I’m not quitting on management. I’m ready and willing to go through the hard times, and I said that at the end of last year. If it’s deemed my fault, then I shouldn’t be here, and that’s all I can say.”

While the Bruins roster is clearly less than perfect and has a larger dose of youthful players than in years past, Julien also freely admitted that they should be held to a higher standard after proving many nights that they should be a playoff team. That’s the mandate from Bruins ownership and that’s the challenge that Julien has willingly accepted.

It’s also the challenge that’s falling a bit short now as they’ve lost three crushing games in a row and have fallen behind the Ottawa Senators in the playoff standings, with Toronto also right behind them holding six games in hand.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

Julien and the Bruins are headed to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will have two games against the red-hot Pens headed into an All-Star break weekend that must feel like a well-earned oasis for Julien at this point in the season. 

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”