With Rondo (suspension) and Ray Allen (ankle) out for tonight’s game in Atlanta, the table is set for Mickael “Air France” Pietrus to step up and have a big game. We expect production from Pierce, KG, Bradley, and Bass, but if the C’s are going to head home to Boston with the series notched up, they’re going to need one more player to step up. Expect The Truth to run the offense by scoring and facilitating. Expect KG to play inspiring defense and knocking down jumpers. Expect Bradley to play lock down defense and make hustle plays and for Bass to connect from the elbow and compete on the glass. But what we should be hoping to expect is a big game from Pietrus.
Air France’s defense and hustle has been stellar of late and I admire his game, attitude, and passion, but with that said, he really has been struggling with his jump shot. (I wrote about this earlier here). He has been nursing some knee ailments and that could be affecting his lift on his jump shot, but this is the playoffs, and the Celtics need him now more than ever. Offensively, he is known for lighting it up from the perimeter, but he has definitely not lived up to that reputation thus far. In Game 1, Pietrus logged 20 minutes of playing time and registered just two three point attempts, missing both of them. He will need to have a much more productive performance in Game 2, especially because we are already missing our greatest three point threat in the absence of Ray Allen.
I’m not talking about a 25-point outing (that would be absolutely amazing), but if he can connect on two or three treys, knock down a couple jump shots, and record some free throw attempts, the C’s should be in prime position to even the score heading back to Boston.
Pietrus was one of the main contributors for the Orlando Magic during their finals run in 2008-2009. They ended up losing to the Fakers in five games, but Pietrus logged about 25mpg and scored just under 11ppg. If Air France can contribute like that for this playoff run, and especially in Game 2 tonight, Boston fans have to be confident playing without Rondo, and should be excited for another playoff run.