|Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce: ‘When he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic’||09.07.16 at 11:27 am ET|
Paul Pierce has not yet solidified his plans for the upcoming season, but if retirement is that decision, Pierce’s most recent (and most familiar) coach is encouraging him to do so as a member of the Celtics.
At Tuesday’s annual ABCD Hoops Dream fundraiser at TD Garden, Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg about the future of arguably the most prized player to wear green since the turn of the millennium, and he said Pierce should sign a one-day contract with the Celtics when he decides to hang up his sneakers.
“I think it’s important. I think we have to do that. And I think we will,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] and [assistant GM] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”
Should he return, Pierce will be playing in his 19th NBA season, 15 of which were with the Celtics. Last season with the Clippers was an underwhelming one, as the 38-year-old averaged just 6.1 points over 18.1 minutes per game.
“Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back,” Rivers said. “But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing.”
Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004 until 2013, when he left for the Clippers, said Pierce could still play at a high level should he come back.
“If I don’t think they can play, then I tell them that. But I think Paul can play,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he can play. I’ve always thought it’s easy for someone else to tell you to retire; I think that’s something that the player has to come to by himself.”
In his frequent discussions with Pierce this offseason, Rivers said he’s heard different things about Pierce’s plan for 2016-17.
“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth,” Rivers said. “I think he has a right to do that. I really do.”
Rivers said he plans to speak with Pierce later this week but is not expecting a definitive answer.
|Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce injury scare: ‘Of course, Laker fans, they were going to bring out a wheelchair’||03.29.16 at 1:43 am ET|
Doc Rivers could laugh about it after his team’s 114-90 win over the Celtics on Monday night, but the moment Paul Pierce went down in the second quarter clutching his right knee, joking was the last thing from his mind.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, Pierce drove to his left and lifted a finger roll to the basket that fell through for two points. But Pierce fell very awkwardly. He stayed on the floor for several minutes while trainers took a close look. He got up and limped off, later being diagnosed with a sprained ankle and just a bruise on his kneecap.
“It’s his ankle, which is the good news because when he went down, I thought it was his knee,” Rivers said. “Of course, the Laker fans, they were going to bring out a wheelchair at some point. They didn’t do that so that was good. He’s going to be out for a little bit. We don’t know how long. It’s one of those things.
“When he went down, I thought it was his knee because he grabbed his knee. He said he grabbed his knee because he got kneed and he hit [the floor]. The pain was there [in knee] but he twisted his ankle.”
Of course, the incident Rivers was referring to was Game 1 of the 2008 NBA finals when Kobe Bryant drove to the basket and scored in the third quarter. Kendrick Perkins came down on Pierce’s right leg and Pierce fell on the baseline, clutching his right knee. He left in a wheelchair, only to return in Willis Reed-style later in Game 1.
Rivers was relieved to find out from his staff in the second half that the Clippers had dodged a bullet. And while he may be out for the final two weeks of the regular season, Rivers and the Clippers sounded hopeful Pierce would return by the playoffs.
“For a second, when he grabbed his knee, I definitely thought, ‘Oh boy.’ Then I’m thinking, ‘Against the Celtics.’ I was thinking, ‘No.’ It didn’t happen, so that’s good,” Rivers said.
|Studs and Duds: Defenseless Celtics can’t stop Chris Paul; Paul Pierce injuries ankle, knee||at 12:48 am ET|
There was no dramatic comeback this time against the Clippers. Just a mismatch.
On Feb. 10 at TD Garden, the Celtics came back late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and win, 139-134. The Clippers repeated their offensive effort but the Celtics could not keep up Monday at Staples Center in a 114-90 Clippers’ win.
Austin Rivers (16 points) and Jamaal Crawford (15) led a potent bench effort that dominated the Celtics all night. The Clippers’ bench scored a season-high 67 points and outscored Boston’s reserves, 67-37. Chris Paul had 13 points and 14 assists while DeAndre Jordan dominated the glass with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Paul also had three steals in his 26 minutes. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics in scoring for a 13th straight game, pouring in 24 points.
In addition to seeing their four-game win streak come to an end, it was a costly loss for the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. The fifth-place Celtics fell to 43-31 and a half-game behind Miami (43-30) for fourth place in the East. They are now just a half-game ahead of sixth-place Charlotte (42-31) in the East.
In what could’ve been his last game against his former team, Paul Pierce escaped what appeared to be a serious knee injury when he drove to the basket for a made a finger roll layup with 2:07 left in the second quarter. He landed awkwardly on his right knee, which bent underneath him.
Pierce laid on the court for several minutes as the Clippers training staff tended to him. He got up and made his way to the locker room under his own power. He was ruled out for the rest of the game with a right knee contusion and a sprained right ankle.
Pierce was having a very solid game at the time of his injury, scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, with three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 11 minutes. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was furious that no foul was called on the play and Rivers’ son Austin picked up a technical foul for continuing the argument during the injury timeout.
Thomas continued two impressive streaks. The diminutive guard has led the Celtics in scoring for 13 straight games, the best streak since Larry Bird accomplished it in 13 in a row in March 1988. In those 13 games, Thomas had also scored at least 20 points, the longest streak since Paul Pierce scored 20 or more in 16 straight games Feb. 4-March 16, 2006.
|Celtics approaching rarified (home) air of 2008 World Champs||03.01.16 at 3:28 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics are on some kind of roll at TD Garden.
The team that started out under .500 (9-10) in their first 19 home games this season has suddenly found the magic touch.
They have won 11 in a row on Causeway Street and if they finish this homestand with wins over the Blazers Wednesday and the Knicks on Friday, they will pass the mark of the 2007-08 Celtics. The group of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen won 12 straight in a row at home to start the season that ended in a title run.
“I don’t know if we can put ourselves in that conservation, man,” Jared Sullinger laughed when the comparison was mentioned Tuesday after practice. “You had Rondo, you had KG, you had Paul, you had Ray, Perk, Tony. You really can’t put yourself in that conversation. But it will say a lot about this team and all the maturing we did over the season. I thought we did a tremendous job of executing of late.
“You can’t really compare the two. It’s two completely different teams,” Avery Bradley added. “We’re just trying to take care of home and take it one game at a time and make sure we’re continuing to get better and take care of the little things.”
What Bradley did acknowledge, and something he learned from former coach Doc Rivers, was the home court matters come playoff time in April and May.
“That matters in the playoffs,” Bradley said. “We got a taste of it last year but home court advantage definitely matters. I learned that from Doc. That’s something we wanted to get every single year so that does matter.”
“For sure, for sure. Doc said that when I was here playing for him that one year,” Sullinger added. “Home court really does matter just because you’re in your normal routine. You’re at home. You’re not on the road. You don’t have to worry about little things. Home court advantage matters, and as long as you’re normal with your routine, everything will be fine.”
“[Confidence] is pretty high. It’s pretty high. I think the biggest thing is we have a streak going now, eleven straight at home. We have two more home games until we hit the road. We’re just trying to close it out. Talking earlier before we started our homestand, we wanted to go 5-0, go 5-0 and protect home court and try to get many wins as possible.
“And what’s funny, I was talking to Jae [Crowder] earlier, we really haven’t been shooting the ball well in these past couple of games and we’re still able to pull out the win. That just shows how much we’re maturing as a basketball team, understanding that offense doesn’t dictate our defense. We’re doing a great job.”
Then there’s the perspective of coach Brad Stevens, who entered last year’s playoffs as the No. 7 seed but without the benefit of home court. The Celtics were swept in four games by Cleveland so home court was moot.
“I’ve never lived it,” Stevens said Tuesday. “I think you have to win on the road and at home in the playoffs. And you have to be able to well in either. You never know how those series play themselves out. Our focus isn’t on 21 games from now, it’s right now. Our next two games are at home so we’ll try to play as well as we can in those next two games.”
|Danny Ainge tells Paul Pierce Celtics have spot for him, possibly in front office||07.23.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
Pierce said he knew he was either going back to his hometown to play for Los Angeles, or he would return to the Wizards.
Thomsen wrote that Pierce watched the Clippers’ series with the Rockets and was “horrified” as they let slip a 3-1 lead in the series and allowed Houston to score 51 of the final 71 points in Game 6.
“No way — if I was in that locker room — I would have allowed that to happen,” Pierce told Thomsen. “You picture yourself being that voice or being that guy on the court that can help in those situations. I think I fill a pretty big need for them.”
His career with the Celtics in the books, as the 37-year-old is trying to “cement [his] legacy in both” L.A. and Boston, saying that helping win the Clippers’ first championship would be “storybook.”
“It’s going to be great, the accountability of it — not only the team, but with Doc and his coaching staff,” Pierce told Thomsen. “It made this whole process a lot easier, especially the position the team was in. If the Clippers weren’t a team that was contending, or if it wasn’t home for me, then this wouldn’t have been a destination for me. It’s all working out the way I want it to.”
Pierce also said that he ran into Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently, who told him, “When you’re ready, we have a spot for you.”
“I think he was meaning as a player, but maybe it was in the front office …” Pierce said to Thomsen.
He added that he could see a position for himself in the Clippers organization as well with Rivers because the coach “respects [his] basketball mind,” and also noted that being in Boston as a young player was probably better for him than if he had been in his hometown.
“You’ve got to know yourself,” he told Thomsen. “I know how difficult it would have been for me, being from here — a young immature kid playing at home. I wouldn’t want that. That would be a whole other monster, with all of the distractions and that. Things happen for a reason. This is all destiny, I believe.”
|Paul Pierce on Lakers: ‘There’s no way I could go there’||07.20.15 at 1:12 pm ET|
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce told The Boston Globe from Sunday night’s NBA Players Association awards show in Las Vegas. “I grew up a Laker fan, but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams … there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”
After spending 15 years in Boston and adding a 17th banner to the rafters of TD Garden in 2008, Pierce left with co-star Kevin Garnett to the Nets. Following one full season in Brooklyn, Pierce signed with the Wizards, which took him back to the playoffs, where he thrived. Despite rave reviews from his teammates, Pierce opted out of his contract and reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.
Pierce already has had a big impact on his new organization as he was part of the group that holed up with DeAndre Jordan in the center’s Houston home to keep him from honoring his verbal commitment to the Mavericks. Of his experience with the team so far, Pierce admits that it’s not what he expected.
“It’s been pretty wild,” Pierce said of convincing Jordan to remain with the Clippers. “I think that whole saga took a form and shade of its own. It got a lot bigger than it was supposed to be.
“I made my decision to be a Clipper. DeAndre changed his mind to be a Clipper.”
Pierce will fill the void at small forward left by Matt Barnes, who recently was traded to the Grizzlies. Last year Pierce averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as he helped lead the Wizards to a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|With all but perfect April record, Celtics’ Brad Stevens named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month||04.17.15 at 8:54 am ET|
Stevens guided the C’s to a 7-1 record, a perfect 4-0 on the road, and Boston finished the season on a six-game win streak. Not for nothing, too, as five of those teams are playoff bound. The Celtics also managed a plus-8.8 points-per-game differential during April as well.
With the run Boston has gone on, it has been able to slide into the seventh seed in the playoffs, punching its ticket to a first-round matchup with the second-seeded Cavaliers.
“The total buy-in is unbelievable,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told SB Nation regarding how Stevens’ team responds to him. “They’ve got a young team. It’s almost like a college team playing hard, running through a wall and they’re relentless. Brad has them playing at a high level on both ends of the floor. If you don’t match their intensity you’re in trouble. They remind me a lot of us last year. No agendas, nothing but let’s go out and play hard and let’s win. That’s how they’re playing now and that’s how I think the game should be played.”
The NBA’s Western Conference Coach of the Month is familiar to Boston as well. Doc Rivers, the former C’s bench boss, was able to lead his Clippers to the only perfect record in April, going 7-0 and scoring 108.6 ppg while allowing 97.4 ppg in that time.
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