BOSTON -- Air France was out of fuel.
In providing a much-needed, fourth-quarter spark with his defensive intensity, Mickael Pietrus had emptied the tank in his Boston debut, gesturing to coach Doc Rivers that he was (French?) toast as he came off the court in a tied game with 6:03 remaining in Wednesday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
After taking the last two weeks to strengthen his right knee after offseason surgery, the Celtics were not expecting too much from recently acquired Pietrus. The stat line (5 points on 2-of-5 shooting, 2 steals, 18 minutes) doesn't quite do his night justice, but his defensive intensity in that fourth quarter (including a steal that led to Rajon Rondo's game-tying hoop) was part of the reason Boston rallied back.
"That’s Mickael Pietrus," he said. "I’m going to fight for my teammates, I’m going to fight for my coaches, and I’m going to fight for the Celtics."
On a night Boston's Big Three struggled to provide a spark, coach Doc Rivers raved about the new guy's gutsy effort.
“[Pietrus] was phenomenal," said Rivers. "I thought we was one of our best players in the game. He clearly gave our team energy, played hard, turned the ball[-handler] -- he’s exactly what we need. And it’s just going to get better. Even if it didn’t, I’d take it. Really. He was terrific, he really was. His energy, his joy -- he brought joy to the game. You know, you can just see it. He was so happy to play, and really the only reason he came out was because he was dying. He was getting tired and I had to take him out.”
Pietrus hopes Wednesday's effort is a taste of what he'll bring in terms of intensity, but he hopes the production will increase. He also hopes the final result will turn in Boston's favor, as he's not here to help the team simply compete.
"Any time I step on the floor, I’m trying to give the team my heart," he said. "The Celtics are my heart now. And that’s why I think people on the Celtics are going to play harder. I'll tell you, that’s what I’m going to bring every night and I’m not going to lie to you, I’m here to win a championship."