Pierce's MRI negative, will play Wednesday


Pierce's MRI negative, will play Wednesday

By A.Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM The MRI on Paul Pierce's sore left foot came back negative, which was about as positive a result as the Boston Celtics could have hoped for.

"He's good. It's OK. Everything is good," said coach Doc Rivers. "I think there's some bruising, swelling, but everything . . . he can play with. That was very good."

Rivers said Pierce will play against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday in Boston's last game prior to the All-Star break.

Despite being so close to the All-Star break, Rivers said there was no temptation to keep Pierce out.

"If we needed to rest him, we would," Rivers said.

The exact time of Pierce's injury is a bit sketchy, but Rivers believes it occurred against the Charlotte Bobcats last week.

And as far as making the injury worse by playing, that doesn't appear a factor.

"It's one of those things, where if someone hit you with a baseball bat on your arm, it's going to take time to heal," Rivers said. "That's what happened a couple games ago. He got kicked on the foot and then he got hit on the hand."

According to Pierce, the right hand injury occurred during the C's practice last Saturday.

"That's the one to me, that might take longer," Rivers said. "When you play basketball, the chance of you not getting hit on the hand is pretty bleak. I've had those . . . you just hope you can get through a four-game stretch without anybody hitting it."

After Wednesday's game, Pierce won't play again until Sunday's All-Star game, where he will be joined by teammates Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

Rivers, who will be the Eastern Conference's coach, isn't worried about Pierce getting hurt in that game.

"I know the coach," quipped Rivers. "So he probably will not play a lot in that game."

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

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.