Pietrus says Game 7 means 'fighting for your jersey'

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Pietrus says Game 7 means 'fighting for your jersey'

WALTHAM Despite all the chatter about the Boston Celtics and their edge in experience over the Philadelphia 76ers, few outside of the Big Four understand what a playoff Game 7 feels like.

Mickael Pietrus does.

In fact, his lone Game 7 experience came at the expense of the Celtics in 2009, when he played for the Orlando Magic and they came into the Garden and left with a 101-82 win.

That would serve as the lone Game 7 loss at home during the Big Three era.

Pietrus remembers that game vividly, a game in which he scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

Now that he's a member of the Celtics, he'll bring a similar approach -- win at all costs -- to Saturday's Game 7 matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, with the winner moving on to the Eastern Conference finals to face the Miami Heat.

"I'm fighting for my jersey," he tells CSNNE.com. "I'm coming to protect my jersey. I wear a Celtics jersey. I have too much pride. I'm not going to let them have it easy. I'm going to fight for my jersey; fight for my teammates; fight for the Celtics."

And that, more than anything else, is what Game 7's are about.

It is a brutal slugfest between teams that are well aware that their season has literally come down to this one game.

"Whoever steps out on the that court, understands this is it, this could be the season," said Paul Pierce. "We have to play like a desperate team, regardless of if we're home or not; whoever wants it the most, is going to get it."

Pierce has delivered a slew of big-game performances in his career, but few were better than the 41-point effort he had in the C's 97-92 Game 7 win over Cleveland in 2008.

"I like challenges; I like being in pressure situations," said Pierce, who will be playing in his seventh Game 7 on Saturday -- more than any other Celtic except Ray Allen, who has already played in seven. "Game 7, I been there before. I understand what it takes, and I'm ready for it."

For Pietrus, Game 7's in Boston mean more - a lot more - than others.

"Whatever it takes, fight for your jersey," he reiterated. "That's what the Celtics are about; it's all about fight. It's not about how many points you score. It's not about who scores. You fight; you fight to win. That's what it means to be a Celtic."

As much as this game is about the playoff survival, there's no mistaking that for players like Pietrus, pride is also a factor.

"This is a special franchise; even when you play elsewhere, you kind of have that in mind when you talk about the Boston Celtics," guard Keyon Dooling told CSNNE.com in an earlier interview. "There's a brotherhood here that's really special and unique; we're always pulling for one another and pushing each other to get better. It really is something special."

That's why while disappointed, the Celtics are far from devastated at the news that Avery Bradley had to have season-ending shoulder surgery which robs them of their best on-the-ball defender.

"We've been through this all year," said coach Doc Rivers. "Stuff happens; you deal with it and move on. That's what we've been, and that's what we'll have to be (in Game 7)."

Rivers has raved all year about how this group of C's is one of the best teams he has ever coached.

Not necessarily because of their talent or ability to win.

But more because of their fighting spirit, the ability to persevere when the odds are stacked against them.

"They have a way of being ready," Rivers said.

Pietrus believes he has a good feel for why the Celtics have been able to overcome a season filled with injuries and other assorted setbacks.

"It comes down to how hard are you willing to fight for your team," Pietrus said. "That's what it takes. I'm ready . . . and so are my teammates. Let's go!"

Rozier ready to compete for serious minutes in Celtics rotation

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Rozier ready to compete for serious minutes in Celtics rotation

WALTHAM, Mass. – Summer league was in full bloom and Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier was killin’ it.
 
Scoring.
 
Dropping dimes.
 
Swooping in for rebounds.
 
Young fella was having the kind of summer that breeds confidence for him as well as the franchise that shocked many in selecting him as high as they did in 2015.  
 
But as well as he played, he knew getting on the floor wasn’t going to be easy because he would have to cut into the minutes of already-established players.
 
And then he got the news that Evan Turner was leaving for Portland after agreeing to a four-year, $70 million contract.
 
Turner’s departure meant Rozier’s chances of playing regular minutes had indeed arrived.

“Nobody wants to lose a guy like ET; great looker room guy, great down the stretch,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “But that gave me even more of an opportunity to play and step up. It gave me a better feeling about this year, knowing I could get minutes.”

On Monday during media day, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked about the void on the Celtic’s roster with Turner now playing for the Blazers.
 
“I miss Evan Turner already; loved having him around,” Ainge said. He’s not going to be easy to replace and neither will Jared Sullinger (he signed a one-year deal with Toronto). But we do have some exciting young players. Jaylen (Brown) and Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier … very exciting players. I don’t know who will get all of Evan’s minutes, but they will be shared and we can fill that void.”

But Turner’s 28.0 minutes per game will likely serve as a portion of the minutes Rozier will carve out for his own this season.
 
“I know he’s going to try and take some of my minutes,” said Celtics all-star guard Isaiah Thomas earlier this summer. “But that’s what it’s about; competing.”
 
Rozier’s competitive nature has stood out during his short time in Boston, with the 22-year-old finding a way to balance that with not being too pushy or too hungry to play.
 
“He’s an All-Star,” Rozier said of Thomas. “I look at it like this. To go up against someone like (Thomas) every day is a blessing.”
 
But Rozier soon adds, “I’m trying to get better, but I want to play too. Getting his minutes, anybody’s minutes, I’m going for it. But I know he’s not going to lighten up and make it easy for me. I know that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
And as he gradually establishes a role for himself on this team, maybe then people will warm up to a player that so many had doubts about when the Celtics selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
 
“I’ve been doubted all my life,” Rozier said. “It ain’t hurt me. I always tell myself, ‘they’re gonna fall in love with me because I play hard and they’re gonna fall in love with my intensity level. People didn’t know who I was; that’s fine. They’ll find out about me soon enough.”

Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

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Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk sits down with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on Media Day to talk about how the recovery from his shoulder injury is progressing and becoming more consistent this season.

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely then discuss whether this is a make or break year for Olynyk, who will be a restricted free-agent at the end of the season.

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