Pietrus' injury overshadows C's loss

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Pietrus' injury overshadows C's loss

PHILADELPHIA There's adversity, tough breaks, bad luck and then there's the Boston Celtics of 2011-2012.

For all of the injury-related setbacks this team has suffered in this lockout-shortened season, the list continues to inexplicably grow.

Boston stumbled out of the gates in the third quarter, and dropped a critical Atlantic Division matchup to Philadelphia, 99-86.

But after this one, no one really cared about the score or who won.

All thoughts and prayers were directed toward Boston's Mickael Pietrus, who suffered what team officials described as a "closed head injury."

In the second quarter with the Celtics ahead 39-38, Pietrus was fouled on a driving lay-up attempt by Lou Williams, with 5:08 to play in the half.

As players began to move away from the play, Pietrus remained on the floor, motionless.

Teammates slowly began to form a circle around him, pulling out long white towels to help prop his head off the hard floor.

It was a scene eerily reminiscent of Marquis Daniels' neck injury on Feb. 6, 2011, which kept Daniels out for the remainder of the season.

After Pietrus was eventually carted off, both teams were clearly impacted by the injury.

But the energy drain his absence caused both teams in the second quarter, lingered around his teammates for the rest of the game.

Boston managed to take a 49-43 lead into the half, but the momentum they had in the first half could not be sustained in what turned out to be a game-changing third quarter.

And the C's were already short-handed with Ray Allen (left ankle) being a late-game scratch.

The C's lost the lead in the third early, only to regain it back, 64-63.

From there, it was all Philly as the Sixers closed out the third with a 17-2 run and led, 80-66 going into the fourth.

Boston made a mini-spurt here and there, but they could never quite regain the strong play and focus they had in the first half.

And the end result was yet another loss in which the C's lost more than just a game - but another key member of their team.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”