Celtics notebook

For Pierce (27), a pickup game

By Frank Dell'Apa
Globe Staff / May 9, 2009
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Celtics captain Paul Pierce has experienced few scoring droughts as long as the one that began in the first quarter of Game 2 Wednesday night and stretched into the opening quarter of last night's 117-96 loss to the Magic.

Pierce scored 21 of his 27 points in Game 3 in the second half.

"I just wanted to be more aggressive than I was in the first half," Pierce said. "I was really passive there. Guys were open in the lane and I was trying to find them. I saw something in the defense and I tried to be more aggressive."

Pierce had been scoreless for 59:14 before hitting a lefthanded shot with 44.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Ray Allen, who was 2 for 12 in Game 1, went 3 for 13 from the field last night. The Celtics shot 43 percent for the game, a number aided by Eddie House's 6-for-7 effort.

"I wouldn't mind scoring 2 points and getting a win," House said. "There's no personal victories here, just team victories. Also, no moral victories. We need to come in [tomorrow] and even this thing up."

House, who finished with 15 points, is 24 for 31 from the field (14 for 17 on 3-pointers) since Game 7 against Chicago.

Smoked screen
Kendrick Perkins was assessed a flagrant foul with 10:15 remaining after clashing with the Magic's Mickael Pietrus.

"I was just trying to fight through the screen and ended up hitting him," Perkins said. Asked about a possible suspension, Perkins replied: "It's out of my control. I think we beat ourselves. We've just got a must-win situation and we've got to go get it. There is nothing else that needs to be said. It's a must-win."

Hard feelings
House believes the Magic's Rafer Alston went over the line of acceptable conduct when the two clashed in Game 2 Wednesday. Alston, who slapped House in the back of the head, was suspended for last night's game.

"It's a decision the NBA made, so it doesn't bother me either way," House said before the game. "What happened between Rafer and myself, what he did was basically not in the game at all. You figure they just want to keep all the nonsense out of the game and keep the game as pure as possible."

Asked if he thought Alston was frustrated, House replied: "You'd have to ask him that. They act like I was taunting him; I wasn't doing any of that. I watched a replay of the game. I make shots and I do the same thing all the time, I'm running back the opposite way, I'm yelling at myself or my teammates but never at an opponent, never at a team or a coach."

"There are elbows and stuff like that, but nothing like [what happened]," House added. "Elbows going on all the time, especially down in the paint, elbows, shoves, pushes, a lot of stuff, some inadvertent, some on purpose. But at the same time, when you're down there mixing it up, it comes with the territory."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is against suspensions in the playoffs.

"It'll never happen, but I do think there's a difference between something premeditated and a spontaneous act," Rivers said. "And that's what I wish we saw better. I know they've got to go by letter of the law, but a spontaneous act, someone hits you and you react, it's a one-second loss of focus and you are penalized for that.

"The way I look at playoffs is players should play. They play the whole year for that."

Along for the ride
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his first road trip since undergoing surgery April 18 following a mild heart attack. Ainge played golf (he shot a 79) with team physician Brian McKeon yesterday . . . Guard Courtney Lee returned to the Magic wearing a facemask to protect his fractured sinus cavity. Lee scored 11 points in 32 minutes in his first game since suffering the injury in Game 5 of Orlando's first-round series with Philadelphia.

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