Pietrus' birthday comes with mixed emotions

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Pietrus' birthday comes with mixed emotions

Mickael Pietrus will celebrate his 30th birthday on Tuesday in front of over 18,000 fans at the TD Garden during the Celtics-Bobcats game. But of all the people who will be in the crowd, one person will not be there, a harsh reality he has been living with since childhood.

I lost my mom when I was 9 years old, he told CSNNE.com. To me, a good birthday, anybody can give me a gift and you always have an appreciation, but its not coming from your mom. The person who raised you, who gave you that life every year, now shes gone. That doesnt make any sense to me. So I kind of take it from my heart and thats it.

Pietrus mother, Coco Claudine, was the center of his world. The youngest of his siblings, Pietrus was the baby and doted on by his adoring mom. Now the father of two children of his own, there are special moments Pietrus would like to share with his mother. Her passing is still incomprehensible to him.

She was sick and she could not take it anymore, he remembered. So instead of her suffering, God made that choice for her to rest in peace. That was when I was young. Its going to be a special day for me to be 30, to have two kids, but not having my mom around to play with my kids and stuff like that -- some people who are always hard on their mom, youve got to enjoy your mom. Youve got to enjoy your family because whenever stuff happens, you always have regrets and youre always going to miss them.

After his mothers death, Pietrus moved from France to the island of Guadelope to live with his grandmother. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2003 and has carried his mothers memory with him throughout the NBA since then.

When I step on the floor I pray for my mom, he said. I pray for my kids. I pray for myself, too, so everything goes right, I do the right thing on the floor to help my team be successful because at the end of the day, she always wanted to see me -- even though shes not with me -- have a smile on my face and go from here. Be positive in your life, dont look back, dont look at what I did for you, just do the best to raise your kids and educate them the best way you can.

Pietrus wants others to be happy because he knows the feeling of sadness.

With one of the most charismatic personalities in the league, he sings LMFAOs catchy song line, Im sexy and I know it, when the Celtics win; he dances to demonstrate his once sore back is no longer bothering him; and soaks up the spotlight when talking to the camera.

Pietrus also makes frequent mentions of his appreciation for life, a point he has emphasized several times this season.

I miss my mom, he said. People see me enjoy all this stuff, but at the end of the day Im trying to think of my mom every day.

Not wanting to let a moment pass him by, Pietrus is looking to seize the opportunity and help the Celtics win now. While he believes he can play another ten years in the league, he is focused on his role this season. The swingman is averaging 8.0 points per game and has given the bench an instant offensive spark.

My 30-year-old stage is trying to get something done in terms of basketball, trying to get a ring, he said. Between 20 and 28, you just want to show the coaches that youve got game, but at 30 youre more relaxed. They know what to expect from you on the floor as a professional and the coach respects you more because youre not like a young kid trying to show him what you can do. Thats what my 30 years old will be. Coach can trust me because now Ive got two kids and I have a family.

Pietrus looks forward to celebrating his birthday on the parquet floor. As always, he will approach the game with a positive attitude and soak up the energy from the crowd.

He will think about the one person he cant be with that day and appreciate the people he is with.

The game is like a fiesta, he said. People deal with so many issues at home and for me, to play in front of 20,000 people, they dont understand that Im trying to transcend a message. Life is short -- enjoy it. Im here to enjoy it with you. Bad time or good time, Im here to enjoy it with you. I see the smiles on all of the kids faces.

Every time Im out on the floor, enjoy it with me, ride with me.

Thomas shines again in fourth quarter, Celtics beat Hornets, 108-98

Thomas shines again in fourth quarter, Celtics beat Hornets, 108-98

BOSTON –  Late in the fourth quarter, the TD Garden was rockin' when the fans charted chanting, 'M-V-P, M-V-P' which is become a nightly serenade of sorts for Isaiah Thomas. 

It's extremely wishful thinking on Celtics Nation's part, but there is no denying his status as one of the game's best players this season. 

He delivered yet another work of art on Monday, scoring 17 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter in leading Boston to a 108-98 win against Charlotte. 

And he did the way he always seems to do it, mixing in 3-pointers with drives to the baskets and an occasional assist to keep the collapsing defenses that surround him relatively honest. 

But the numbers he's consistently posting only tell part of the narrative to what has been a fairy tale of a season for the 5-foot-9 guard who continues to defy odds on a nightly basis. 

Not only is he producing at a high level, but he's elevating the play of those around him which is reflected in the team's overall success.

Boston (26-15) hits the halfway point with its best record under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens and best by the franchise since a 32-9 start to the 2010-2011 season.

The Celtics have now won eight of their last 10 games, and 13 of 16 as they steadily pull away and establish themselves at worst being the third-best team in the East.

And against the Hornets, they got the victory with a nice blending of what they do best – shoot three-pointers and play solid, physical defense.

The game could not have gotten off to a better start for the Boston Celtics, opening with a 10-2 run that put the Hornets on their heels quickly.

Not surprisingly, the Hornets rallied to take the lead in the first quarter before Boston’s second unit stepped up.

Leading the way in the final minute of the first quarter was Jaylen Brown, just minutes removed from a moving pre-game speech honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on MLK Day.

With Boston trailing 30-29, Brown scored the final five points of the quarter to give Boston a 34-30 lead.

The second quarter saw both teams pull ahead by slim margins, neither showing an ability to pull away and take full control of the game.

But again it was the Celtics making all the necessary plays at both ends of the floor in the closing moments.

Trailing 50-48, Boston would close out the half with an 11-3 run to lead 59-53 at the half.

In the third quarter, Boston began to give itself a little more breathing room fueled in large part by their defense which not only limited the Hornets scoring but took advantage of great spacing to get open jumpers or baskets in the paint with little resistance or help-side defense.

A back-to-the-basket hook shot by Al Horford gave Boston a 77-67 lead, the game’s first double-digit margin.

The Celtics increased their lead to 12 points following a pull-up jumper along the baseline by Avery Bradley who was back in the lineup after missing the previous four games with an Achilles injury.

Going into the fourth, the Celtics were ahead 80-71.

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold.