Pierce to take on more point-forward role without Rondo


Pierce to take on more point-forward role without Rondo

BOSTON Paul Pierce takes pride in being able to give the Boston Celtics whatever they need.

That mentality takes on even greater significance now that Rajon Rondo is out for the season with a torn right ACL injury.

Rondo's injury means the Celtics will look to Pierce to play more of a point-forward role which is essentially what he did in Boston's 100-98 double overtime win against Miami on Sunday.

Pierce finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists which was his first triple-double of the season.

"Responsibilities definitely go up when you have Rondo out the game," Pierce said. "More of a facilitator. Have to do a little bit of everything for this ball club. That's about it."

It is a role that Pierce has taken on at times in the past, one that might be easier for him to excel at based on the Celtics' personnel.

The need for Pierce to handle the ball more is necessary because the C's perimeter players are primarily scorers more than they are ball-handlers.

Pierce might benefit from handling the ball more, as it would likely take some of the pressure off him to score more points.

The Captain has been in a bit of a shooting funk lately, connecting on six of his 16 shots from the field against the Heat. In the five previous games leading up to Sunday's match with Miami, Pierce was shooting 32.9 percent (23-for-70) from the field.

"You know my shot, it's going to fall," Pierce said. "It's not something that I'm worried about."

For now, Pierce is focused on doing whatever he can to help the Celtics build off of what has to be their biggest win of the season. And with Rondo out, that's going to require him to do more - a lot more - than he has thus far this season.

"I still have a lot of intangibles," Pierce said. "The know-how; I know how to play this game."

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship


Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”