Paul Pierce Attacked Rim ‘Just As Much’ As LeBron James, Doc Rivers Says, But Coach Will Not Criticize Officials

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Paul Pierce Attacked Rim 'Just As Much' As LeBron James, Doc Rivers Says, But Coach Will Not Criticize OfficialsDoc Rivers is a very rich man, and he would like to keep it that way.

The Celtics coach would not bite on several questions about the foul disparity between his team and the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, staying away from any response that could net him a fine from the NBA.

The Celtics were whistled for 33 fouls to the Heat's 18, and attempted only 29 free throws to the Heat's 47. They picked up another technical foul, their fourth non-team tech of the series, and were called for seven personal fouls before Miami picked up its first foul more than 10 minutes into the game.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were second and 22nd in the NBA in free throw attempts during the regular season, respectively, so the Celtics anticipate the Heat getting their share of foul shots. Rivers cannot be pleased with the volume of free throws the Heat have gotten or the disparity between his own team's free throws, but he danced around any criticism of the officials in his conference call Thursday.

"They are going to shoot a lot of free throws, but we have to as well," Rivers said. "I thought [Rajon] Rondo was extremely aggressive [Wednesday]. I thought Paul [Pierce] was aggressive, even more so when you watch the film. Paul's a powerful guy, and there's a lot of contact when he drives."

Pierce took only six foul shots on Wednesday after attempting none in Game 1. James had 24 free throw attempts in the second game to bring his two-game total in the series to 33.

James has attempted the most foul shots of any player in the postseason with 141 in 13 games, while Wade is second with 100 foul shots. Pierce comes in third with 98 free throws, but his have come in two more games than James and Wade have played.

"I think Paul Pierce attacked just as much as LeBron James attacked [Wednesday], so I'll leave it at that," Rivers said. "We'll get past that distraction."

To get past the back-and-forth about the officiating, Rivers made some more illuminating comments about the Celtics' predictability in the third quarter. They were outscored 35-22 in the frame in part due to a 13-5 rebounding disadvantage, but also due to going stagnant on offense.

Rivers compared his team's third quarter in Game 2 to the first quarter of Game 1, when his team concentrated on the first option on offense and failed to move the ball.

"You're not going to beat Miami just on the strong side," Rivers said. "You're not going to beat Miami on [isolations]. You have to have ball movement. The ball has to touch different hands and you have to use both sides of the floor."

Ball movement forces the defense to move with it. When a defense moves, it tends to get out of position. When defenders are out of position, they foul.

Rivers knows this, and that's why he gets paid — and holds onto — the big bucks.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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