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Celtics notebook

Pierce took charge late

Captain excelled in crunch time

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / November 26, 2009

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Paul Pierce believes he had little choice as he defended Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala late in the Celtics’ 113-110 win last night.

“You know, it’s what we talk about,’’ Pierce said of drawing a charging call that set up the clinching possession. “I mean, if the charge is there the coach wants us to step up and take the charge. That’s pretty much the only thing I could’ve done in that situation. It was like Iguodala coming at you full speed, he’s so athletic, that once he gets in the air, I’m not going to block his shot. So, I just try to stand there and take the charge.’’

The foul gave the ball to the Celtics, Rajon Rondo concluding their next possession with a shot clock buzzer-beating jumper for a 109-105 lead with 9.6 seconds remaining.

“I’m just doing the things I know that I can do and just try to do them within our system,’’ Pierce said. “We move the ball well and we get the ball to the guys who have it going. You know, down the stretch, Rondo was really a key for us, finding open guys, and I just tried to stay within the offense and play through that.’’

Said Kevin Garnett, “[Last] night’s game was Paul Pierce’s will on the game. When we needed a bucket, he got buckets. He got me easy shots. He got [Eddie ] House easy shots. They tried to put a press on us, he threw right over the top. He was directing. When your captain is going like that and your team leader is going like that, in the flow. You know, he gave everybody insurance. I mean, you just have to follow and listen.’’

Pierce played the entire second half and finished with 43 minutes.

“I respect the coach and his decisions, and if he takes me out he takes me out,’’ Pierce said. “I mean, I never want to come out.’’

Said Doc Rivers: “I played him way too many minutes but that happens once in a while. I told him I’d make it up with a 25-minute game somewhere down the road.’’

Leave him alone
Rivers plans to fly to his Winter Park, Fla., home for Thanksgiving, then return for tomorrow’s game against Toronto. “I love it,’’ Rivers said of the trip. “It’s five hours, no one can get ahold of me. It’s very true. My coaches know I’m fine when I have five hours of video straight with no interruptions. Nobody knocking on the door of your office saying you have to sign this or such-and-such wants to talk to you. For preparation work, it’s something all coaches might need to do. You have a flying office.’’ . . . Tony Allen remained out, still recovering from ankle surgery. “He’s just not ready to play, yet,’’ Rivers said. “He’s getting closer.’’ . . . Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan, asked if he thought the Celtics had declined in recent games: “I haven’t noticed it. They’re a championship-caliber team and some nights they are going to need a bit more motivation to really be at a high level. But it’s early in the season and every team has some ups and downs, but they’re still dominant. Dominant.’’

Holiday work
Jrue Holiday, 19, was in the Philadelphia starting lineup last night, replacing Lou Williams (broken jaw), who was injured in Philadelphia’s loss to Washington Tuesday. “I’m not just throwing him in there,’’ Jordan said. “He’s got quality skills. He’s not intimidated; they will test him. He’s a very good professional, he’s got confidence, he’s got skills where he can make plays off the dribble. He’s got a good mid-range shot and he can get to the basket.’’ Holiday played 34 minutes last night, scoring 10 points, grabbing 3 rebounds, and notching 6 assists.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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