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."

Hayward: No one thing led him to Celtics, 'just a gut feeling'

Hayward: No one thing led him to Celtics, 'just a gut feeling'

In the end, what was it that led this summer's most coveted free agent, Gordon Hayward, to finally choose the Celtics?

"I don't know if there was one thing," Hayward told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on "The Woj Podcast" released Monday. "I think if I would've stayed in Utah, we would've been really good. It would've been a great situation for me. My family would have been happy. We loved it there.

"It was a different feeling in Boston that we had. It was like a gut feeling. When we broke it down, the city, the coaching staff, the players. The feeling of putting on a Boston Celtics uniform and competing for a title outweighed everything."

MORE CELTICS

More highlights from Hayward's first extended one-on-one interview since choosing the Celtics over the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat on July 4:

When is he moving to Boston?

"Early September," Hayward said. "We've found a place and we're in the process of moving our stuff back there. We're excited. With two little girls, we'd like to find some places we can go to all the time with little things they'd like to do."

On seeing [his former Butler coach] Brad Stevens there to greet him at Logan Airport on his Celtics visit: 

"I'm taking pictures at baggage claim with Brad and the fans. I had an immediate sense of familiarity...It did take me back to recruiting days...The relationship between Brad and I has been completely overstated and overhyped. There's always been rumors but those were just rumors. We had a great relationship but it wasn't like we were always texting each other. Everybody made it seem like we were besties and it wasn't like that.

"He immediately called me July 1 [after free agency opened] and I thought, 'Oh no this isn't going to be any different [from Butler]'"

On his visit to Fenway Park when the Celtics made their pitch to him:

"I'm not a baseball person at all but that was still really cool."

On his return visit to Boston after he announced he would sign with the Celtics:

"We went back to Boston and we were going to do the press conference there [it ended up being a conference call from his home near San Diego] I actually forgot my suit. We were going to go to Saks but we didn't have time. So we jumped in the car and went to Joseph A. Bank, which I got killed about [on social media]. We were walking around the city, we didn't know, and we could just feel it then though, you could feel the intensity. We went to dinner and went to the North End and I got my haircut. We kind of just jumped in and everyone was so excited and telling me they were happy I was in Boston. We almost just had a night in the heart of Boston and that was really cool." 

On the Celtics' history: 

"For Larry [Bird], I think was a little too young [to have grown up watching him]. Celtic lore to me because is how invested the fans are and how invested the organization is in winning. For me, it was a lot of you know I want to try to continue that greatness with the team they have now." 

What did Isaiah Thomas tell him on his visit?

"We really talked about going and getting Banner 18 more than anything. That was really the focus."

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.

Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard. 

Wrote Lowe:

Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.

While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month.