Pierce is Pierce Again as Celtics Head Into Break

How soon we forget, if we're Paul Pierce anyways.

Just a few days ago, Pierce couldn't buy a basket. His 0-10 performance in the Celtics' 85-82 win was certainly uncharacteristic of the C's captain. More characteristic? The 10-18 field goals made for 31 points in their 94-80 win over the Nets.

"Well I felt better," Pierce said. "Getting some of my health back. This is a much needed weekend for me. Just to get back healthy and some of the little nagging injuries that I have been dealing with the last few days. It's a good start."

Pierce missed the last two practices due to the minor injuries in his foot and hand, but seemed fine in the 33 minutes of game time Wednesday night.

"He's back," Doc Rivers said. "Because he's a great player, and great players when they - it's funny, when you look at, what was Paul, 0 for 10 or whatever he was - and he plays like tonight, you watch (Dwyane) Wade who struggled against us, you watch him the other night against Indiana I think he had 28 at halftime or 29. 

"Great players, it's just they don't have a lot of back-to-back bad games.  So that was terrific."

He is back, and another thing that returned in that game, albeit a bit late, was the Celtics defense. They held the Nets to just 29.3-percent shooting in the second half, allowing them to score just 34 points - 10 in the fourth quarter.

"I think second half we had a better flow of defense," Kevin Garnett said, who chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds. "The first quarter we came out very explosive. You could tell right away that we were trying to get this game out of the way.

"Doc kept stressing energy, energy. I thought for the most part we did that, didn't sustain it. They made some shots, made a run of their own. Like I said, I thought the second half we did a better job of being more consistent in what we were doing defensively."

Four Celtics and...

Four Celtics will be coming off the bench for the Eastern Conference All-Stars, but who will fill that fifth spot if indeed all four enter the game at the same time?

All four Celtics players had said they wanted to play with Dwight Howard at center.

"Well we got one through four so maybe throw Dwight Howard in there," Pierce said. "He would look good in a green uniform."

Kevin Garnett said that while it doesn't matter, Howard would be a good fit because he wouldn't have to play center if that was the case.

Doc Rivers has been known to go small with the Celtics lineup on numerous occasions, mostly because at times he has no choice. While he does have a choice this time around, going small might look pretty intriguing.

"It could be - it would be a big ... though, it could be LeBron (James) - who knows? We'll see.  It'll be good, though."

For guys like Paul Pierce who have been to many All-Star Weekends, he's not taking this one for granted.

"Yeah, I think it's a tremendous opportunity," Pierce said. "It's always a privilege when you make an All-Star Game and are recognized as one of the best players in the world. I enjoy every minute of it. It's going to be great to be able to spend it with my teammates. We all have something planned. We are going to go out together and have dinner, maybe watch a show or something.

"It's good I am going to enjoy these moments, especially with my career winding down. You don't get too many moments like this."

Protect this House!

The Celtics won their 25th home game of the season, one more than they won all of last season. The idea of winning the games at home is something that Rivers has stressed to his players, and they have responded.

"Yeah, we talked about it," Rivers said. "Obviously you've got to go through it as you know.  But we did talk about it going into the year.  We thought we let - we knew we had a ton of injuries and we were playing guys strange minutes but one of the things we still expected through all that last year was just to win the home games.  And we didn't do that.  So obviously this year has been much better."

The Celtics have had a ton of injuries this year too, but they've managed to overcome them so far and play inspired basketball for the most part. A large reason of that is due to the play of Garnett, who is a much better player this time around since last year.

"Home court since I've been here has always been the emphasis," Garnett said. "It's always been primary. The formula in which we did in 08 is some of the formula in which we follow to this day and home court is a part of that."

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