Pierce sees great things in Wallace, Celtics
|07.09.09 at 8:58 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Paul Pierce has found new life in his step and Rasheed Wallace is the reason why.
Pierce couldn’t help but think back two summers ago when coming off a 24-win season, the Celtics went out and acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, leading to a 66-win, NBA Championship campaign 11 months later.
Pierce was up on the dais with Allen and Garnett and had similar thoughts dancing through his head.
“It started two years with Ray and Kevin and I just think with getting Rasheed, it just gives you an extra boost of energy,” Pierce said. “Even the last few weeks, it’s hard for me to stay out of the gym. I’ve been coming in, working out, picking up the ball here and there. Just making sure that I’m ready for the upcoming season because I’m excited with the moves that we made.”
And on Thursday, at the Celtics’ Sports Authority complex, the Celtics introduced their biggest move of all.
“I’m excited about the possibility of being on the court with him and every day I just try to envision it and if it goes the way I envision it, it’s going to be a great summer next year,” Pierce said.
While last season was hardly a disaster at 62 wins and a loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Orlando Magic, Pierce was, by most accounts, running on empty as he and Ray Allen logged huge minutes in trying to pick up the slack for the injured Kevin Garnett.
C’s head coach Doc Rivers saw this and knew what the Celtics wanted in free agency.
“Like Ray and Paul and Kevin said, right when the season ended, you looked at the free agent list, there was one name that popped out right away, and it was Rasheed’s,” Rivers said. “Obviously, we didn’t know if we could get him or not but we knew that’s who we wanted. So it was clear for our team and how he played and who he was that he was the perfect fit for us.”
Wallace knew when Pierce joined KG and Allen on a recruiting trip to visit him in Detroit that he was a wanted man. Thursday, Wallace explained why he thinks playing with Pierce, Garnett and Allen is a good idea right now.
“Because I felt it was a good fit,” Wallace said. “I think one of the main things that the guys up here do is play defense. They’ve been in the top, what, three or four in defensive categories.”
Then general manager Danny Ainge quickly interjected, “No, 1 and 2.”
Wallace, not missing a beat, continued, “so, that’s saying a lot about their defense right there. That’s saying a lot about them and their whole defensive scheme. and their team scheme. The bottom line is just to win.”
Pierce, Garnett and Allen all just smiled and nodded in agreement. They all shared the same vision of greatness on Thursday.