Good Morning
Good Morning

Wizards coach Randy Wittman prizes acquisition of Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce of the Washington Wizards and Kevin

Paul Pierce of the Washington Wizards and Kevin Garnett of the Brooklyn Nets talk before coming into the game during the first half at Verizon Center on Jan. 16, 2015 in Washington. Credit: Getty Images / Rob Carr

The fans weren't settled in yet, perhaps leading to the lukewarm response. A light mixture of cheers and boos greeted Paul Pierce as Barclays Center public address announcer David Diamante said his name, a reaction barely loud enough to be noticed.

The guy whose clutch play spurred the Nets in their first-round playoff series victory over the Raptors last spring was back in the building for the first time since signing with the Wizards as a free agent in the summer.

"It was cool. It's always a good crowd here,'' said Pierce, who started at small forward and had seven points, four rebounds and four turnovers in 25:40 in a 99-90 win over the Nets. "It was fun playing against an old teammate of mine, Kevin [Garnett], back-to-back nights. There was a little laughter there, a little chitter-chatter. It wasn't much, though.''

Wizards coach Randy Wittman is the beneficiary of Pierce's services now, and he rattled off the positives. "Leadership," he said. "But also what he can still do on the floor, a guy coming down the stretch at the end of games, not afraid to take big shots, wants shots, makes plays for other people, and then what he does for us in the locker room has been tremendous. It's another veteran guy that we were able to add that kind of goes hand-in-hand with our young guys and helps our guys grow. He's been through just about every spectrum you can be in in his career."

Better Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic made his fifth straight start Saturday night and had eight points and five rebounds in 25:30.

Bogdanovic further distanced himself from that rough 17-game stretch in which he was supplanted in the starting lineup by Sergey Karasev. In his previous four games, Bogdanovic averaged 12.5 points and shot 45.9 percent from the field. He shot only 11.1 percent from three-point range, but he's been effective in other ways.

"He's trying to be more aggressive," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We talk to him all the time about being a basketball player, not just being a guy that's waiting for somebody to throw the ball to you to shoot the three."

"I thought [Friday] night, he was a lot more aggressive. He was getting down in the post, he went backdoor a couple of times, he went backdoor in the pick-and-roll. Those are the types of things that wing players have to do in this league, and we need him to do that for our group to be successful. It's not just for him but for our group."

New York Sports