Rondo: Pierce is 'Mr. Everything'

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Rondo: Pierce is 'Mr. Everything'

BOSTON -- Sidelined for the past five games with a sprained right wrist, Rajon Rondo has been forced to watch his team from a distance.

Without their floor leader and top ball handler, how would they respond?

The answer has been a four-game winning streak, one in which Paul Pierce has stepped up as the team's top distributor. Pierce has dished a total of 41 assists (average 8.2 per game) in this stretch without Rondo on the court.

Its not easy to make that transition from still scoring and running the point and rebounding, Rondo told CSNNE.com following the Celtics 94-87 win over the Indiana Pacers. Hes Mr. Everything right now for us, and thats what we need.

Pierce recorded eight assists on Friday night. Although he pointed out his turnovers have also increased, he is taking on the role of getting his teammates open shots.

I have to make more plays now that Rondos out, he said. Usually Im the recipient of a lot of Rondos passes, but with him out Im taking on some part in that role. Its just up to me to be responsible, when to know when to find guys and have a balance on when to score.

Pierce will look to continue his interim role while Rondo gets healthy. The point guard was vague about his expected return, offering, I am going to play -- one day. Maybe like next -- hopefully before All-Star Break. Thats my goal, to come back before All-Star. Im going to try to get February, like my birthday, like before Oklahoma.

After missing the first three games of the regular season himself, Pierce says he is feeling "83.7" percent healthy.

Im getting there," he said. "Im really getting used to the soreness of the playing and getting used to the back-to-backs. Usually in back-to-back situations, a few weeks ago I probably wouldnt have been able to play in this game, in the fourth game in five nights because of how my body was feeling after these games. But Im really getting used to it, Im really conditioned for these games to where its not really affecting me. Doc is doing a great job of giving us the rest in these type of situations.

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
 
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
 
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
 
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
 
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
 
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
 
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
 
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
 
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
 
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
 
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
 
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
 
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
 
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
 
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
 
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
 
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
 
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”