Pierce will play, but how effectively?


Pierce will play, but how effectively?

BOSTON Doc Rivers confirmed that Paul Pierce (sprained MCL, left knee) will play tonight in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks.

How well and how long, however, remain to be seen.

"Obviously it's not the best situation," Rivers said. "But he is going to play. We just have to figure out what he can do on the floor."

One of Pierce's strengths in this series, when healthy, has been his ability to get to the free throw line.

In the first three games, Pierce averaged 10 free throw attempts per game. In the last two both of which have been played with his left knee injury Pierce has only taken one free throw attempt.

"He's not going to get to the free throw line as much. We know that," Rivers said. "It's just what it is. We have to try and create other ways, get Kevin Garnett in the post more. They're trapping him, so it's tough for him to get to the line as well. That clearly takes something away from us. We just have to find other ways to score."

Finding others to fill the scoring void will indeed be a challenge for Boston which ranks 10th ( out of 16 playoff teams) in scoring with 87.6 points per game. There are a number of Celtics like Mickael Pietrus who are seemingly due for a breakout-type game shooting.

Pietrus, who battled swelling in his right knee near the end of the season, has appeared in all five playoff games for the Celtics.

While his strongest asset in this series is his defense against Joe Johnson, the C's are also counting on him to make shots when given an opportunity.

That hasn't happened, with Pietrus missing 11 of his 14 shot attempts in this series.

"We need him. We need him to play well tonight," Rivers said. "Shot's just not going in right now. When you're shot doesn't go in and you're not a great player, your confidence obviously struggles a little bit. I think he's going through that some as well. I don't know if what's causing it is injuries or not."

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The Ringer.com, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an ESPN.com story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls


Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls

Tonight’s pregame number is 133. That’s the total number of made 3-point field goals made last season by the players starting for the Bulls tonight. Whatever the Bulls reasons for signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade were this offseason, floor spacing was not one of them.

Wade’s career mark of 28.4 percent from distance is the third-worst percentage among active players with 600+ career attempts, while Rondo’s 28.9 career 3-pt FG% is seventh worst. And, for what it’s worth, the new-look Bulls shot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc (21st in the NBA) this preseason, while hitting 7.7 3-pointers per game. 

Despite allowing 15 3’s last night vs the Nets, perimeter defense should once again be a strength for the Celtics. Last season, the Celtics were fourth in the NBA with an opponent 3-pt FG% of 33.6. They were 38-15 when holding opponents to eight or fewer 3’s. 

With the NBA continuing to trend towards more 3-point shooting, it will be interesting to see how Fred Hoiberg’s offense looks this season, and especially tonight vs the Celtics.