|02.05.17 at 6:09 pm ET|
It was a perfect ending for Celtics fans.
Paul Pierce knocked in the final shot, and the Celtics won the game.
Towards the end of a 107-102 Celtics win over the Clippers, fans spent the most of the second half chanting for Pierce to come back in the game. With 19.8 second left, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers finally reinserted Pierce — who had been on the bench since the first quarter — and TD Garden went nuts.
With the game out of reach, the Celtics legend took a deep 3-pointer in front of Isaiah Thomas, and drained it.
The Garden erupted.
It was a fitting moment by Pierce to knock down the final shot, just like he’s done dozens of times throughout his 15 years with the Celtics.
“It’s a tough situation, been sitting for like the last two hours, then had to come in there and get a shot,” Pierce said with a smile on his face. “But I’m glad I ended it that way, [glad] I was able to. You know, you want to come in and get a win but it was a tough day, not only for me but for my teammates, it was a lot of emotion running through; my teammates kind of felt it too. I’m glad I was able to cap it off, my last game in the Garden, at least I can just say I put one last bucket in at the end of the game.
TD Garden wasted little time in showering Paul Pierce with a tribute video. During the first timeout of the first quarter — which was called at the 8:13 mark — a montage of some of Pierce’s greatest moments on the court played on the jumbotron to commemorate his final game. After Celtics fans gave a thunderous standing ovation for Pierce, one that continued as the game resumed, fans began chanting a “Thank you, Paul Pierce” chant.
“It was tough, man,” Pierce said on having to sit throughout most of the game. “The fans are awesome. These are the best fans in the world. I never felt anything like this. I truly appreciate my time here. I truly appreciate tonight. The fans showered me with a lot of love.”
|02.04.17 at 11:30 pm ET|
History won’t only take place in Houston’s NRG Stadium on Sunday.
Nearly 2,000 miles away from Super Bowl LI, the purest scorer in Celtics history will play his last game in Boston.
Paul Pierce, who plans to retire after this season, will give Celtics fans one final performance on his beloved parquet when the Clippers visit TD Garden in a pre-Super Bowl matinee at 2 p.m.
Although it’s been nearly four years since Pierce donned a Celtics uniform, his contributions to the city and organization feel fresh. Fifteen years and one unforgettable title ensure him of immortality.
Celtics legends Larry Bird and John Havlicek often headline discussions of the franchise’s best pure scorer, but was there a more dynamic offensive force than Pierce? He could score at a high rate in every way imaginable.
Pierce could take his defender to the rim, score from the mid-range, hit 3’s, and make shots with victory on the line, as his dozen-plus game-winners prove. The 10-time All-Star was an offensive assassin. And his career numbers back it up.
Not only does he lead the Celtics in most 3-pointers and free-throws made but in both statistical categories, he’s top-10 in NBA history. Only three NBA players have drained more 3-pointers than Pierce (2,137) and he’s eighth in free-throws made (6,916).
He enters Sunday’s game as the 16th leading scorer in league history with 26,361 career points, fittingly, right behind Celtics legend Havlicek (26,395), who is 15th on the list.
Pierce is not only the best pure scorer in Celtics history, he’s also one of the most gifted offensive talents in league history. Despite being overshadowed by great scorers throughout his prime, starting with Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant in the early 2000s and ending with LeBron James today, Pierce eventually earned his place in their company. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.04.17 at 4:25 pm ET|
Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas found out on Friday that a future Hall of Famer thinks the 5-foot-9 guard has what it takes to win an NBA title.
In a recent one-on-one interview with Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Paul Pierce commented on this season’s Celtics team and called Thomas a “championship-type player.” The former Celtics captain said that he believes that Thomas, along with the intelligence and guidance of head coach Brad Stevens, have a chance to compete for a championship one day.
A smile stretched across Thomas’ face when he found out what the Celtics legend had to say about him.
“I didn’t know that,” Thomas said. “That means everything. From a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a Celtics legend, to say that about me, that means a lot. Like I always say, I don’t care what anybody says but my peers and the people who did it before me. For a guy like that to say that, that’s crazy.”
In light of Pierce playing his final game at TD Garden on Sunday, Thomas added:
“I’m going to try to find his jersey, so I can get it signed.”
After a 38-point performance in Friday’s win over the Lakers, Thomas is now averaging 29.9 points per game, less than one point away from Russell Westbrook’s league-leading 30.8 point average.
The last Celtics player to finish a season averaging 29.9 points per game was Larry Bird back in the 1987-88 season.
|02.04.17 at 12:12 pm ET|
After clinching the second-best record in the East, Celtics coach Brad Stevens and his coaching staff have earned the right to coach the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
The Celtics’ 113-107 win over the Lakers put them 2.5 games ahead of the Wizards, while only two games separate the C’s from first place. Stevens becomes the sixth Celtics coach to ever coach the Eastern All-Star team, the first since Doc Rivers’ coaching staff in 2011.
Although Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who holds the best record in the Eastern Conference, should be coaching the Eastern All-Stars, he couldn’t because of the NBA rule that disallows coaches to make back-to-back appearances at All-Star games.
The Celtics held onto the second-best record in the East before the deciding Feb. 5 deadline.
“It should be Ty Lue,” Stevens said. “But the way the rules work then it’s the next-best record because he did it last year.
“But what’s nice about it is, there’s no politics in it. There’s no subjectivity. It’s what your team has accomplished. And that’s a credit to the players in the locker room. You know, it’s almost a little bit, I almost, feel bad that I’m the one that’s going. I’d rather have another one or two of those guys (the players) playing in it. But our staff will really enjoy it, and our staff’s kids will really enjoy it. And we’ll go from there.”
Stevens was quick to credit his players for putting him in a position to succeed and explained how it takes hard work from talented guys in order for a coach to be successful.
“I think none of us (coaches) are crazy enough to think you get there without really good players, and the players certainly carry the coaches,” Stevens explained. “That’s been the way it’s always been. But with regard to the staff, I think our staff works really hard. I’ve said before that I’ve tried to prioritize hiring humble, hardworking and intelligent people. And they come every day, they work really hard, they do a lot behind the scenes, they put in a lot of time and effort, and so it’s nice that they’re going to be a part of that as well.”
The 2017 All-Star game will be played on Feb. 19 in New Orleans.
|02.03.17 at 11:43 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics now have the most wins in NBA history.
In a showdown between two of the league’s most storied franchises, the Celtics defeated the Lakers, 113-107 and set the NBA team record for most cumulative regular-season wins.
Both teams entered Friday’s contest at TD Garden tied at 3,252 all-time regular-season victories before Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics fended off their opponent in the final frame and improved to 32-18. Thomas finished with a game-high 38 points and poured in 17 fourth-quarter points to push the Celtics to their sixth consecutive win.
With 3:50 left, the Lakers pulled to within seven points (101-94) and gave up a golden opportunity to make it a four-point game after the C’s surrendered three offensive rebounds. Boston allowed Louis Williams and D’Angelo Russell each take turns jacking up four straight 3-pointers until Al Horford finally pulled down a defensive rebound — which led to Thomas scoring four straight points.
From there, the Celtics held on.
Jae Crowder finished with 18 points and Jaylen Brown added 12 points to go with his 7 rebounds while Horford flirted with a triple-double (11 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists).
|02.02.17 at 11:07 pm ET|
This month, Isaiah Thomas made the decision easy for the NBA.
After putting together one of the greatest scoring months in franchise history, Thomas was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month on Thursday.
Leading the Celtics to a 10-4 record, Thomas averaged 32.9 points and 6.9 assists throughout the month of January and is now the first Celtics player since Paul Pierce (March of 2012) to take home the award.
In light of Wednesday’s 44-point performance, Thomas also stretched his streak of scoring 20 or more points to 33 consecutive games.
He’s also been invited to participate in All-Star Saturday night’s Skills Challenge. Thomas will compete against a combination of guards and big men including Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, John Wall, Devin Booker, Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid on February 18 in New Orleans.
|02.02.17 at 12:22 am ET|
The unsung heroes set the stage. And then Isaiah Thomas, as he seems to do on a nightly basis, danced on it.
Trailing by 18 points in a showdown with the Raptors for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics closed the game on a monster 52-29 run behind 44 points from their All-Star point guard to complete a 109-104 victory.
Thomas put together another incredible fourth quarter, scoring 19 of his 44 points, but the Celtics reserves set the stage for his heroics. Led by Marcus Smart (10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds), the bench helped chip away at a double-digit deficit and carried their momentum into the fourth quarter.
Throughout the third quarter, Smart applied pressure on Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and finished strong on the offensive end by making cuts to the basket for easy layups. He was also finding his teammates for easy assists but was most effective in disrupting the flow of Toronto’s offense.
Terry Rozier, who finished with 5 points and 7 rebounds, nailed a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to pull the Celtics to within eight. He also pulled down two offensive rebounds in the second half to keep possessions alive and slowed down the Raptors’ reserve guards on the defensive end. Tyler Zeller, who finished with five rebounds and four points, made a reverse dunk and tossed an alley-oop to rookie Jaylen Brown to trim the deficit down to five (91-86).
From there, Thomas went on a 7-0 run — giving the Celtics their first lead with 4:39 left.
However, Lowry, who led the Raptors with 32 points, helped his team regain the lead by draining five straight points for Toronto. With 48 ticks left, Thomas knocked in a 3-pointer to give the C’s a two-point lead before Patrick Patterson missed a 3-pointer and the Raptors were forced to intentionally foul the Celtics in the final seconds.
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