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Mickael Pietrus will play vs. Dallas

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 11, 2012 06:47 PM

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Mickael Pietrus said he will play for the Celtics tonight vs. the Mavericks, adding to the team's depth at the small forward position.

"The thing I think he'll give us right away is defense," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He understands the schemes already and plays so hard defensively. The thing we want him to do is just make those open shots."

Rivers said he was worried about giving Pietrus time to get into basketball shape, though he said he came to the team in great physical shape, and that was evident by seeing him up close before the game.

-- Delonte West is making his return to TD Garden tonight as an opponent. While he's very happy he landed on a good team, West said Boston will always have a place in his heart, and that he plans to play "for 20 more years" and hopes to end up a Celtic again someday.

Rivers said the Celtics miss West, but he stressed that they preferred Keyon Dooling.

You're going to miss [West's] toughness," said Rivers. "And that's big for your team. He's an instigator. You need a lot of them."

On his offseason, which included applying for a job at Home Depot and working for a furniture store, West said, "It taught me that the league-minimum isn't that bad."

-- Rivers put aside any notion that the Celtics were somehow saving themselves because of the condensed season.

"We haven't played well," said Rivers. "It has nothing to do with the approach. We're not pacing ourselves. We're not winning games, we've got to play better."

-- Sasha Pavlovic and JaJuan Johnson are inactive for tonight's game.

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