BOSTON (CBS) – Paul Pierce has had a rough go of things during the Celtics Eastern Conference semifinals with the Miami Heat.
After being ejected in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Celtics captain suffered a left heel injury in Game 2. With a couple of days of rest and treatment, Pierce says the foot is feeling better and is ready to make an impact in Saturday’s Game 3.
“I feel good about this,” Pierce said of the injury. “Once you turn 30 your body heals a little slower, but I was able to get back into the game that night and really had no further ill effects from it after the game, yesterday or today. I’m very confident.”
Pierce has yet to find his groove on the offensive end and has struggled to guard Lebron James on defense. But having their leader for, hopefully, an entire game when he is healthy will make the difference.
“He’s our best scorer,” Rivers said of Pierce, who scored 19-points in Game 1 before being ejected. “We have to go to him more and get him involved. Obviously it was very tough to get him involved at the end of Game 1. I couldn’t think of a way but I was trying. And Game 2 with the injury, you just didn’t know.”
Although Rivers wants to make sure Pierce gets plenty of touches in Game 3, he wants to make sure Pierce does not try to do too much to make up for lost time.
“I don’t think he should put any undo pressure on himself,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to win individually, we’re going to win as a group.”
That is not to say Pierce won’t put the team on his shoulders. He is confident in his game, and knows how big of an impact he can have on the team’s success.
“Paul Pierce being in the game in the fourth quarter is always going to help the Celtics,” Pierce joked.
“Healthy,” he made sure to add.