Pierce: I have to keep my composure

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Pierce: I have to keep my composure

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MIAMI The NBA is made up of emotional players playing emotional games. NBA playoff games can be especially heated.

At times, those emotions can wrap themselves around the most level-headed of players, and take them for a spin.

Paul Pierce knows this all too well.

The Boston Celtics' captain was tossed in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 99-90 Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday after he was whistled for two technical fouls -- an automatic ejection.

At the time, Pierce didn't agree with the calls. Having had a night to sleep on it, Pierce's feelings haven't changed.

"Referees called what they saw," he said. "I have to do a better job of keeping my composure. That's it."

Pierce will get that opportunity on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between Boston and Miami.

Keeping Pierce on the floor, especially down the stretch, will be critical to Boston's chances of splitting the first two games in Miami.

His first technical foul came after he was fouled by James Jones with 7:59 to play.

After the play, Pierce got into Jones' face which led to both players being whistled for a technical foul.

The league reviewed the play on Monday, and rescinded the technical foul against Jones. But they also changed the personal foul against Jones to a flagrant-1 penalty.

Less than a minute after the Jones incident, Pierce was trying to set a screen for Ray Allen when Dwyane Wade came barreling into him.

Pierce said something to Wade after Wade was whistled for a foul. It apparently was enough for official Ed Malloy to whistle Pierce for a second technical which is an automatic ejection.

On Monday, Pierce said he never received an explanation from Malloy on exactly why he was being tossed with seven minutes to play.

Lead official Danny Crawford explained to a pool reporter after the game what Pierce did to warrant the second technical foul.

"It's what we call a verbal taunt," Crawford said. "He directed profanity towards Wade. And in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt. And it just so happened to be Pierce's second technical foul."

Whatever Pierce said, he didn't expect it would result in him being tossed out of the game.

"I was surprised in getting kicked out," Pierce said. "I didn't think what I did warranted ejection. Sometimes players get caught in the hype of the game. Sometimes the refs do, too."

Pierce does know one thing. A repeat meltdown on his part can do nothing but hurt the Celtics' chances of winning Game 2.

And while he's likely to have some thoughts about Game 1 prior to Tuesday's Game 2 tip-off, by no means does he plan to use that as added incentive to play well.

"I don't need no motivation," Pierce said. "I don't need that to fire me up for this. I have a common goal, just like the rest of my teammates, and that's to win a championship. I'm trying to do everything I can to make that happen."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

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Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

Celtics forward Jae Crowder talks with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talks about building on a breakthrough season last year, and the love for his head coach Brad Stevens, and for the city of Boston.

Also, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk about what lies ahead for Crowder in 2016/17.

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Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

WALTHAM – There are a number of NBA players we have seen through the years whose effort level has been questioned.
 
But when it comes to Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, that has never been an issue.
 
In fact, Bradley’s all-out style of defense has been a major factor in him being sidelined for an extended period of time in each of his six NBA seasons.
 
Although he’s only 25 years old, Bradley is starting to embrace the idea of less all-out defense might not be such a bad idea.
 
“It’s hard to control my injuries because I play hard every single possession,” Bradley told CSNNE.com following the team’s first practice. “I can’t say that every NBA player doesn’t, but I know there’s not a lot. I play hard every single possession especially on the defensive end. That can take a toll on your body. I just have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and picking my spots a little better.”
 
Prior to the Celtics selecting Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2011, he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury. Throughout his five NBA seasons, the veteran guard has a long list of injuries which has sidelined him for at least five games every season in addition to missing some playoff games.
 
Knowing the risks involved in continuing his all-out brand of basketball, the fact that Bradley is even open to the idea of picking when to assert himself defensively and when to be more passive, is progress.
 
“I’m pretty sure someone like (ex-Celtics) Tony Allen …  he’s not going to go hard like every possession,” Bradley said. “He’s going to pick his spots, still play good defense.”
 
Which is exactly what Bradley is striving to do this season, and show that last season’s all-NBA First Team Defense nod wasn’t a fluke.

But as we have seen with Bradley throughout his career with the Celtics, he has a way of coming back every season having made a significant stride in some facet of the game to become closer to being a two-way player.
 
“That’s my goal; I want my teammates to be able to count on me playing well at both ends of the floor,” Bradley said.
 
And as I mentioned earlier, Bradley is still a relatively young guy who turns 26 years old in November.
 
‘I’m still a 90s baby’ just like everybody on this team,” quipped Bradley.
 
Being so young puts a premium of sorts on players to learn all they can as quickly as they can in relation to their respective team.
 
“I feel young; I feel young,” Bradley said. “I feel young. I still haven’t even played a full season yet. This will be my first season playing a whole season.”
 
Listening to Bradley talk about adjusting how he plays defensively, it’s pretty clear that he’s having an internal tug-of-war between continuing to play elite defense and easing up defensively.
 
“That’s just me. Some people can do it. Maybe I could take some (plays) off, play passing lanes,” Bradley said. “But I don’t think I’ll ever change into that. It could help our team out a little bit.”