Practice: Doc likes Pietrus' response

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

The Celtics are still waiting for Mickael Pietrus' first postseason basket.WALTHAM, Mass. -- The big story lines at Thursday's Celtics practice might have been Ray Allen's optimism about his ailing ankle and Rajon Rondo's thankfulness towards his teammates, but here's a few more nuggets from the session:

* Mickael Pietrus picked up three fouls in a 34-second span early in Game 2 and seemed to mentally check out despite earning the spot start, which led to Rivers screaming at him on the bench during a first-half timeout (Kevin Garnett put in his two cents as well). Pietrus appeared to mope a bit, shuffling to the end of the bench after being taken out of the game soon after (injured Allen actually went down and tried to talk to him a bit). But Rivers loved how Pietrus responded when he went back in for the second half.

"I thought he did great, he came back in and defended very well," said Rivers. "I thought that was huge for us. You’re going to get it at times in the games. And it’s going to come from me or someone else. It was good -- he got emotional, we took him out, but we brought him back in and he was great."

Pietrus has missed all five shots he's taken this series (all 3-pointers) and has more fouls (6) and turnovers (2) than points (0). But Rivers continues to stress his importance on offense, especially as Allen struggles to get back on the floor.

"[Pietrus is] the one guy that, he hasn’t made a shot, but he’s capable of making a shot, and the other team thinks he can make a shot," said Rivers.

* Rivers spent a lot of time talking about the frustration at a lack of spacing on the floor for his offense. The Hawks have often smothered Boston's top scoring options and Rivers stressed the importance of establishing Kevin Garnett in the post moving forward in the series.

"They are killing us with their help," said Rivers. "They just decided that, without Ray on the floor, they are going to swarm everybody and you're going to have to find someone."

* Rivers expect Josh Smith (knee) to play in Friday's Game 3. Atlanta's star big man sat out the final 4:20 of Tuesday's Game 2 and an MRI Wednesday revealed a strained tendon that left him classified as day-to-day. Rivers didn't hesitate when asked Thursday about whether the team believes he'll suit up, "Yeah, he's playing."

* The team started its morning session with film and, as he was leaving the court following media access, Allen rattled home a walkoff midcourt heave. That ankle injury has done nothing to limit his range. Word from the Celtics after the session was encouraging as well: Allen made it through the full 75-minute session on the court (the team worked mostly in halfcourt sets, which means there wasn't a lot of activity). The key remains how that ankle responds Friday.