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Inside the Game: Paul Pierce and the Art of Versatility 12.21.09 at 1:17 am ET
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Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 29 points in Sunday's win over Minnesota. (AP)

His stat line against the Timberwolves on Sunday spoke for itself: 29 points, 6-for-6 on 3-pointers, 7-for-7 on free throws, seven rebounds, four assists.

Paul Pierce
did it all.

After nearly 12 years in the league, Pierce has learned how to accentuate his talents to help the Celtics win. He ranked first on the Celtics in scoring and 3-point shooting, second in assists, and third in rebounding heading into Sunday’s game. This overall versatility is what makes him one of the most dangerous players in the league.

Whether it is hitting a clutch shot or diving on the floor for a loose ball, Pierce has an unrelenting drive to help the Celtics win. This whatever-it-takes attitude was instilled in him as a child, but he did not learn it watching professional basketball players.

He learned it from his mother, Lorraine Hosey.

As part of the WEEI.com’s “Inside the Game” series with the Celtics, Pierce explained how his mother’s inspiration has transformed him into the player he is today.

A Man of Many Weapons: Pierce boasts a career average of 22.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.

“Some nights it might not be my scoring. Some nights it might be my defense. I think I have the ability to do it all, so I think that’s the way I affect the game. Some nights it’s going to be, like I said, my rebounding, my offense, my defense. I just think it’s whatever the team needs that night. Ray [Allen] might have it going or someone else may have it going and they may need me to lock down one of their best players. So that’s what I try to bring to this team.”

Feeling the Flow: Pierce tied a franchise record with his 6-for-6 long-range performance on Sunday. He shot a perfect 3-for-3 during the second quarter alone. The performance offered an example of how he adapts his game to the flow of the game on any given night.

“I just think I’ve got a feel for the game. It’s all a feel from the start of the game, kind of realizing at the beginning this is going to be a game where they’re going to need my scoring. You sort of feel it during the game. It’s hard to explain. You kind of go through the flow of the game and you understand it and you understand what kind of night it’s going to be. It’s just experience, playing with a great team also. Before it was like every night they needed my scoring. But when you play on a great team with so many great players, you kind of figure out whatever I need to bring to the game.”

Always On Call: Last season Pierce ranked ninth among all players in clutch shooting on 82games.com. (This stat is defined by scoring in the fourth quarter or overtime with less than five minutes left and neither team ahead by more than five points.)

“[It's all about] just being mentally ready and focused. That’s what the game is all about. I may not have it going, I may not be hitting my shots, but I’m always mentally in tune and ready.”

An Unexpected Source of Inspiration: Pierce grew up in California as a Lakers fan. No one, however, in purple and gold could top what he learned at home.

“[It was] definitely mom. She was always there when I needed something. Not as an athlete but period. I get it from her… I definitely [carry part of her on the court]. Of course she [knows it]. I just got my never-quit attitude from her. My mom didn’t grow up in the best situations, raising three boys by herself, maintaining three jobs just to put food on the table. She didn’t look at adversity as something that would bring her down. She always tried to find a way.”

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

Inside the Game: Kendrick Perkins on the Art of Shot-Blocking

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