Pietrus not concerned about shooting struggles


Pietrus not concerned about shooting struggles

BOSTON Long-ball hitters and big-shot makers are one in the same.

When they start to struggle, they begin to seek out that one hit, that one shot, that'll hopefully get their game back on track.

That's where Boston's Mickael Pietrus is right now.

Boston has a 1-0 series lead over Philadelphia in their second-round matchup, but it had little to do with Pietrus' shooting.

The 6-foot-6 veteran missed both of his 3-point shot attempts, each kissing every part of the rim before rolling out.

Unfortunately for Pietrus and the C's, it's been that kind of postseason for him this year.

In seven playoff games, Pietrus is shooting 23.5 percent from the field and 13.3 percent on threes while averaging 1.4 points per game.

Whether it's in the classroom or on the basketball court, a 1.4 average is simply not going to cut it.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is well aware of Pietrus' shooting woes.

"I want him to keep shooting," Rivers said. "The only thing I did tell him (in Game 1 against Philadelphia), the one time, I said, 'You can drive, too.' I think right now he's searching for that one. You almost feel like he's Albert Pujols trying to hit his first home run, you know? You just start putting more stress on yourself than you probably have to."

As poorly as Pietrus has shot the ball, don't look for his playing time to be cut anytime soon.

"The one thing I will say about him is the other end hasn't changed," Rivers said. "He's still defending. And that's good; that's a mature player that he doesn't get so down on offense that he stops doing his job. His job for us is defense."

And it is a job that Pietrus has embraced, even with the reputation he earned in Orlando as a big-shot maker in the playoffs.

"Sometimes you are not going to make shots," Pietrus said. "But you always have to stay confident. Because fourth quarter, you never know the situation. The ball could be in your hands and you have to make shots. I been there before. You know already what I can do."

On top of struggling with his shot, Rivers revealed following Saturday's win that Pietrus has some swelling in his knee.

"I don't worry about that swelling," Pietrus said. "At the end of the day, I am going to fight for my team."

Pietrus added, "I been in the playoffs before. I know what it takes. The Boston Celtics, they never lead the league in scoring."

That's why his focus coming into the series was to provide as much defensive support as possible, and every now and then sprinkle in a basket or two.

"Play hard defense and do what you can to win basketball games," Pietrus said. "That's what we need from everybody."

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