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Paul Pierce on D&H: Celtics ‘built for the playoffs’

04.01.10 at 2:56 pm ET
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Paul Pierce called in to Dale & Holley on Thursday to talk about the Celtics’ charge to the playoffs. Pierce said that he was happy that no major moves were done at the deadline to change the team and he sees this veteran squad being a team that can make moves in the postseason.

“I look at our and team and the struggles we have and I think we are more of a team that is built for the playoffs,” he said. “We have a number of guys who are in their 30s and I just think in the playoffs it becomes a half court game, and you only have to be better than four teams in the playoffs to win it all.”

Pierce also talked about where Rajon Rondo stacks up with the top point guards in the league, his future with the Celtics and why he is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA.

To read the transcript, look below. To listen, click here.

Kevin Garnett was a little upset after the game last night, wasn’€™t he?

He’€™s going to say how he feels.

That was a bogus call though, right?

Which one?

We were expecting make up calls, but they never came.

That’€™s just the nature of the game. Sometimes you get good calls, sometimes you get bad calls, and sometimes it’€™s the way it goes. I felt like I didn’€™t foul in a couple of cases but the refs saw it differently and a lot of times it’€™s judgment calls and what they think. There’€™s nothing you can really do about it.

The guys, like Kevin Durant, get the calls but they really don’€™t need the help.

Durant shoots 15 free throws and we shoot 17 for the game. That was the ball game with the discrepancy with the free throw shooting and that’€™s the way the game goes sometimes. You got to move on from it and you can’€™t let it bother you even though it hurts. Those types of games hurt. I was really frustrated after the game with how things went. But there’€™s nothing you can do, you just got to move on.

Why are your free throw attempts down this year?

A lot of that has to do with the injuries I had. When I suffered the injury with my knee and my foot I think when I came back I wasn’€™t quite ready to play and it took from a lot of my aggression of going to the basket and my explosiveness. Lately I’€™ve been healthy. I think that’€™s what it is because I have a knack of getting inside, drawing contact and finishing at the rim. That’€™s part of my game when I’€™m driving to the hole and drawing contact and I think the reason for that is because I missed games due to injury.

Why don’€™t you get the benefit of the doubt that other guys get?

I don’€™t know, maybe it has something to do with the Celtics winning all the championships back in the day and they are still taking it out on us. I’€™ve always been the Rodney Dangerfield of the league, I get no respect even from day one when I got drafted. It’€™s something I got to play through and I can’€™t let it bother or frustrate me because at this point of my career I’€™m used to it and I feel like it’€™s made me a better player because when I’€™m out there I have to earn it.

Do you have one of those bodies when it seems like you are seriously hurt but it doesn’€™t turn out to be that bad?

I usually don’€™t stay on the ground too long. When I fall I get right back up. I just think that’€™s part of showing guys what you are made of. In that case (Game 1 of the Finals) it was really bothering me and I heard a pop in the knee and thought it was more serious than it really was and I was scared to move it. If I’€™m down for long periods of time it is really something bothering me and it could be serious because most of the time I get right back up. I remember the other night with the shoulder because I felt some numbness go all the way down my arm and it paralyzed my arm for a quick second and when it went away I was able to move it and get up.

That’€™s what that was, it was a numbness issue?

Yeah. The shoulder got hit and they say it happens a lot in football. It went from my shoulder all the way down to my hand and I felt numbness all the way down, I didn’€™t know what to think. I thought it was separated at first because I don’€™t know what it’€™s like to separate my shoulder. When you feel numbness like that you don’€™t know what it is but then it started to go away, because it stiffened up when I was on the ground where I couldn’€™t even move it at first. You know when you hit a funny bone and that feeling goes through your arm? It just feels funny, and it was sort of like that in my hand and it went away after a couple of minutes.

How does Rajon Rondo stack up against the point guards in the NBA?

He’€™s right up there at the top. You talk about a guy who has developed in his four years of playing. He’€™s one of the league leaders in assists and steals. He’€™s grown each and every league. You look around the league, and I don’€™t think there at that many great point guards in the league like there used to be back in the day with Kevin Johnson, John Stockton, Rod Strickland, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, you look at that era as a point guard heavy era and I think of this era as a wing man. There are not a lot of great point guards, I mean you have your Chris Paul and Deron Williams and I’€™ll put Rondo right in that category with them.

Do you think you guys are too old to do any damage and what do you think when you hear that?

I don’€™t really think about it. I look at our and team and the struggles we have and I think we are more of a team that is built for the playoffs. We have a number of guys who are in their 30s and I just think in the playoffs where it becomes a half court game, and you only have to be better than four teams in the playoffs to win it all. I think we are more built for the playoffs when the game slows down. You talk about half court defense. This has been tough getting through the ups and downs of the regular season, getting through the match ups and all sorts of things. I’€™ve always said, especially at the midseason when our team is built, I say the same thing for the Cavaliers and Orlando. Those teams have the traditional big man who probably won’€™t do as well throughout the regular season consistently, but you get them in the playoffs and that’€™s where guys like Dwight [Howard] thrives, guys like Shaq thrive and I think where we are going to thrive.

Is there a boredom to the regular season, which might lead to inconsistencies?

I don’€™t think guys are bored with the regular season. I think it’€™s a bunch of crap of being bored with it. It’€™s a process. You have to build up for the playoffs. You have to be consistent in what you do. You don’€™t just go out here and just be a great shooter. You have to go out there and practice at it and that’€™s what the regular season is. It’€™s practicing for the playoffs, developing some consistency and developing a way that you play going into the playoffs so you are sharp and you are ready. Just to be bored with the process, I don’€™t think you can win that way. We’€™ve been inconsistent because some of it has been injuries and some of it has been defensive inconsistencies. We’€™ve been a great defensive team over the last couple years and I think that’€™s something we have to do better at. We haven’€™t been as strong as a rebounding team as we have in the past. I think some of that has to do with changing players, some guys getting older and a number of little things like that. Once the playoffs role around where you aren’€™t traveling as much, you are playing one team and have a chance to scout them over a period of time, that’€™s where we will be better and more consistent in what we do.

Why did you play in the All-Star Game if you had to have your knee drained after it?

I felt good at the time but after the game it kind of swelled up a little bit. I noticed and couldn’t bend it all the way, so right after the game I had a doctor come in and he had to drain it. When you drain a knee it kind of takes a lot out of your strength in your body and I missed a few practices after that and it was something I wanted to be a part of and I was healthy enough to be a part of, but I just think if I had to do it all over again I probably would have sat out. How many more opportunities am I going to get to play in the All Star Game? I’€™m getting a little bit older, my career is winding down and I thought it was something I was healthy enough to play in. It was something I needed done and that usually takes a couple of weeks to get all the way back right. It’€™s been the little things through the course of the season that has hampered me like that, like the thumb and the foot.

Did you want Danny Ainge to do something at the trade deadline or did you like the core group here?

I like our core group, but that’€™s not up to me. The coaches and Danny talk and they address strengths and weaknesses and they say what we need to help this ball club. But I didn’€™t think we needed anything major. We did some minor tweaking in getting Nate Robinson for Eddie House. We all loved Eddie House for what he brought to the team not only on the court but off the court the type of person he is on the road. On the buses, on the airplanes that type of chemistry a lot of people around you watching from the outside looking in don’€™t see that stuff and it makes for a better team.

You can be a free agent this summer, what are you going to do?

It’€™s something I haven’€™t given too much thought about. At one point in my career I thought it would be fun to test the free agent market and see what’€™s out there but I love the Boston Celtics. I love what they have been able to do for me throughout my career and I’€™ve said it all along this is where I want to retire. I couldn’€™t imagine myself playing anywhere else. As far as testing the free agent market I really don’€™t know. I really haven’€™t put any thought into it.

Have you ever thought about having your number retired to the rafters?

I hope so. I hope when it is all said and done that I can be put up there with the great players of the Celtics past and helped follow in that tradition. I helped put up a banner and hopefully I can put up one or two more. It would mean so much to me. As a player you dream of being one of the best and to be one of the best Celtics of all time really says a lot, because there are so many great players and a lot of them have only been retired up in the banners. A lot of them have gone on to the Hall of Fame, so it would be great.

Tell people about the program you are working with.

My program is the FitClub 34, which I started with Truth on Health, and it just encourages kids to eat right. A lot of kids are computer based and video game based where they aren’€™t having fun. When I was a kid we used to get a stick, get a ball or have a football and go outside. We had a lot of activities we made up where we had fun and we got out of the house. Nowadays kids are stuck on their computer, stuck inside and not eating the right things. Childhood obesity is a problem growing in America and I just want to be an influence, not only to kids locally, but throughout the nation because there are so many bad things for kids out there that we promote and we just want to teach them right now before it’€™s too late.

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