Pierce will play, but how effectively?

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Pierce will play, but how effectively?

BOSTON Doc Rivers confirmed that Paul Pierce (sprained MCL, left knee) will play tonight in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks.

How well and how long, however, remain to be seen.

"Obviously it's not the best situation," Rivers said. "But he is going to play. We just have to figure out what he can do on the floor."

One of Pierce's strengths in this series, when healthy, has been his ability to get to the free throw line.

In the first three games, Pierce averaged 10 free throw attempts per game. In the last two both of which have been played with his left knee injury Pierce has only taken one free throw attempt.

"He's not going to get to the free throw line as much. We know that," Rivers said. "It's just what it is. We have to try and create other ways, get Kevin Garnett in the post more. They're trapping him, so it's tough for him to get to the line as well. That clearly takes something away from us. We just have to find other ways to score."

Finding others to fill the scoring void will indeed be a challenge for Boston which ranks 10th ( out of 16 playoff teams) in scoring with 87.6 points per game. There are a number of Celtics like Mickael Pietrus who are seemingly due for a breakout-type game shooting.

Pietrus, who battled swelling in his right knee near the end of the season, has appeared in all five playoff games for the Celtics.

While his strongest asset in this series is his defense against Joe Johnson, the C's are also counting on him to make shots when given an opportunity.

That hasn't happened, with Pietrus missing 11 of his 14 shot attempts in this series.

"We need him. We need him to play well tonight," Rivers said. "Shot's just not going in right now. When you're shot doesn't go in and you're not a great player, your confidence obviously struggles a little bit. I think he's going through that some as well. I don't know if what's causing it is injuries or not."

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
 
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
 
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
 
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
 
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
 
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
 
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
 
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
  
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
 
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.