Paul Pierce vs. John Havlicek according to Paul Silas
|02.08.12 at 12:45 am ET|
BOSTON — On the night Celtics captain Paul Pierce surpassed Larry Bird for No. 2 on the team’s all-time scoring list behind John Havlicek, one of Hondo’s former teammates happened to be on the opposing bench.
While Pierce and Havlicek now rank 1-2 among C’s career points leaders, Bobcats head coach Paul Silas — who won two NBA titles in four seasons on the Celtics from 1972-76 — knows they took different paths to get there.
“Theyr’e kind of different players,” said Silas. “Havlicek was just very aggressive, running all the time. He’d get up and down the floor, ran and banked shots off the board. Pierce is more of a guy going 1-on-1. Havlicek didn’t do that. And Pierce is more of a long-range shooter. Havlicek could shoot long-range, but that wasn’t really his game.”
Of course, Havlicek retired two seasons before the NBA instituted the 3-point field goal, and Pierce has made 1,615 career 3-pointers. Even still, The Truth trails Hondo by 4,598 points for No. 1 on the C’s scoring list. It took Havlicek 23,930 shots in 1,270 games to reach 26,395 points. And speaking of running all the time, Havlicek played 46,471 minutes, an average of 36.6 per game over 16 seasons.
Meanwhile, Pierce has totaled 21,797 points on 15,939 shots in 36,417 minutes and 985 games (37.0 MPG). Under contract through 2014, Pierce would have to play almost exactly three more seasons to match Havlicek’s number of games played. Should Pierce play those 285 more games in Boston, he’d have to average 16.1 points per game in that span to equal Havlicek’s point production. Pierce averages 22.1 per game for his career.
Regardless of whether he gets there or not, he’s earned the respect of a guy who’s seen both play at their peaks.
“He’s a heckuva player,” Silas said of Pierce. “If you play for one team as long as he has with what he’s been able to accomplish, then you’re going to get the rewards, and that’s basically what he’s done. And rightfully so. I mean, he went through some tough times when he didn’t have as good a team and he just kept on getting it himself. There wasn’t any complaints at all. You’ve got to admire a guy that way.”
Besides, Pierce has another goal in mind before he sets his sights on Havlicek’s Celtics scoring record. “I think the fans would really appreciate another championship than me passing Hondo,” he said, “so that’s my ultimate goal.”