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.
You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night.
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely.
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown.
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game.
The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers.
He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half.
He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.
He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.
He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.
When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.
During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.
But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.
In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.
On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.
Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.