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Pierce, Celtics have a leg up

Posted by Frank Dell'Apa, Globe Staff  April 29, 2009 01:51 PM

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The symbolic play of the Celtics' 106-104 overtime win over Chicago in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday was a Rajon Rondo foul on Bulls center Brad Miller with 2.0 seconds remaining. Miller felt like he'd been punched in the mouth and missed the potentially game-tying foul shots.

But there was plenty of grabbing and pushing and even kicking of foes in the contest as the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead.

Celtics' captain Paul Pierce limped through the final part of the game after receiving a blow to his left leg, providing the deciding points with 3.4 seconds remaining. Pierce did not know when he was kicked, or who kicked him. But Pierce said today he was recovering and will be ready to perform in Thursday's visit to Chicago for Game 6.

"It's a little sore, I'll use today to recover," Pierce said. "Get some treatment, get a massage, rest, things like that. I'll be ready for tomorrow. It's a little sore but it's better than it was yesterday. It's nothing more than a light bruise on the calf muscle, so some ice should be able to take care of it.

"That's the way the playoffs are played. The refs aren't going to give you anything they're going to make you earn everything. And that's the way it should be. The refs are doing a great job, letting both teams play, and that's what's making it an exciting series.

"It would be great to close out this thing in Chicago. I think we could use a little bit of rest. Who knows, if Orlando closes theirs out in the same period of time we could be playing in a few days. It would be great to finally get this over with.

"It's just more mentally (draining) than it is physically. You know, with the overtimes, the 2-point games. No team has gotten the edge. Every game is a nail-biter."

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