TORONTO Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers liked what he saw out of Mickael Pietrus, who returned to the C's lineup on Wednesday after being out since March 23 because of a concussion.
He's looking for more of the same tonight when the Celtics face on the Toronto Raptors.
And like so many of the C's games this season, they will once again be short-handed with Ray Allen (ankle) out.
As for Pietrus, his play in Boston's 88-86 overtime win far exceeded Rivers' expectations both in terms of production (eight points, six rebounds) and minutes played (29). Pietrus was indeed a key player in the Celtics' victory, evident by the Celtics being plus-11 (that was the second-highest on the team) when he was on the floor against the Hawks.
"It's great to have him back," C's guard Avery Bradley told CSNNE.com. "He's a great shooter, great defender. Having him only makes us better, a tougher team to beat."
Said Rivers: "He looked good, he felt great. He said he felt normal. That's good."
While Pietrus told CSNNE.com following the win that he had put in extra work conditioning his body so that he wouldn't be too winded once he returned, look for him to continue to get in extra conditioning work between now and the playoffs.
"He worked out a little bit more yesterday, trying to get his legs back in playing shape," Rivers said. "I think these next three games will help that."
After tonight's game at Toronto, the C's play at New Jersey on Saturday and at Charlotte on Sunday.
"It's good to have him back," Rivers said.
Mike Felger, Dan Shaughnessy and Glenn Ordway wonder why the Celtics are even getting a meeting with Kevin Durant when free agency begins. Does it mean they have a legitimate chance of signing him?
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty joins Toucher & Rich to discuss which defenseman the Bruins should go after this offseason, factoring in the cost and age of the players available.
Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon.
"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."
Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.
Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.
Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there.
For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."