|Inside the Game: Paul Pierce and the Art of Versatility||12.21.09 at 1:17 am ET|
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.”
|Fast Break: Celtics vs. Timberwolves||12.20.09 at 8:32 pm ET|
BOSTON – Their first meeting was close, but that would not be the case on Sunday. The Celtics reached a season-high in scoring and easily defeated the T’Wolves, 122-104, at the Garden.
Turning Point: In a moment that is sure to appear on SportsCenter, Eddie House stole the ball, passed it behind his back as he stumbled out of bounds near the scorer’s table and dished it to Tony Allen for a dunk over Corey Brewer. That second-quarter play proved the entire Celtics squad – not just their starting five – was going to cause problems for the Timberwolves.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce hit six 3s (tying a team season-high) and led all players with 29 points. He shot a perfect three-for-three from long range in the second quarter alone. Pierce also chipped in seven rebounds and four assists.
- Tony Allen also had an impressive night – 15 points (5-8 FG, 5-7 FT), six rebounds, three assists. This was Allen’s second consecutive double-digit performance.
- The Celtics scored a season-high 34 points in the first quarter. (The previous high was 31 against the Thunder on December 4.) The Celtics held the Timberwolves to 28 percent shooting in the first quarter (7-25 FG). Just four Minnesota players scored in the first 12 minutes compared to seven on the C’s.
- Kendrick Perkins was whistled for a technical in the third quarter. He did not get to the free throw line the entire night.
- The Celtics improved to 4-0 when scoring more than 30 points in the first quarter. They are also 4-0 on Sundays.
|Celtics looking for bonding on trip||11.28.09 at 3:36 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Doc Rivers laughed when asked to characterize the upcoming road trip through Miami, Charlotte, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
“It’s an important trip because it’s four good teams, unfortunately all four teams are playing well,” Rivers said. “But that’s what you have to expect when you go out on the road.
Indeed, the four teams have a collective record of 32-28, with only Charlotte (6-9) under .500.
But Paul Pierce, on Saturday after practice, said this is a good chance for the Celtics to start proving what they’re made of.
“This is a time where where you have to concentrate more,” Pierce said. “We understand what being a successful road team is about in the past. It will give us more focus time. I think we understand being on the road, we have to focus a lot more. You can’t play the way we’ve been playing at home on the road because you won’t get those wins.”
|The Book on ‘Kevin and Sheed’||at 2:19 pm ET|
WALTHAM — It doesn’t take long for Rasheed Wallace to make an impression. Ask Paul Pierce, who just one month into the regular season has already heard so many stories and jokes that he could pen a literary masterpiece.
“He’s an extension of Kevin [Garnett],” Pierce said with a laugh after Saturday’s practice. “Between the two you hear a lot of stories. It’s fun. I could write a 400-page book right now.”
Garnett and Wallace are seated next to each other in the Celtics locker room. So it is only fitting that the title of Pierce’s hypothetical book would include both of them.
“I’d keep it simple: Kevin and Sheed,” Pierce said, adding, “[The cover would] probably have them two face to face, smiling.”
|Sheed: NBA going soft||11.27.09 at 11:24 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace has been in the NBA 15 years and he spoke after Friday’s game like a true veteran who thinks the league he loves has gone way too soft.
His rant began when asked about the technical assessed when he argued about a second-quarter foul called on him for running into Toronto’s Hedo Turkoglu.
“They gotta know that he’s a damn flopper,” Wallace said. “That’s all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn’t get you no where. He acts like I shot him.”
Wallace said that’s a cheap way to play defense.
“That’s not basketball, man. that’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”
Reminded that he has three years left on his contract didn’t hold back his lecture, adding that Paul Pierce did nothing wrong on his dunk over Chris Bosh early in the fourth quarter.
“This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping [crap],” he said. “They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing but it’s a tech.
“Let the Golden Child do that or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy.”
[Hear the audio by clicking here.]
For the record, Wallace confirmed that the ‘Golden Child’ he was referring to is indeed LeBron James.
|Turn up the volume: Pierce imposes his will||11.26.09 at 12:14 am ET|
Kevin Garnett was considered the missing piece last year as the Celtics missed out on defending their NBA title.
But listen to Garnett and Doc Rivers following Boston’s 113-110 win over the Philadelphia 76ers and you get the unmistakable sense that so far this season, it’s Paul Pierce who is indispensable.
|Doc: Pierce is our MVP||11.25.09 at 11:32 pm ET|
After yet another brilliant outing from Paul Pierce –27 points, five rebounds, six assists and one gut-wrenching charge — Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t hold back in his praise.
“He’s been MVP to me,” Rivers said. “Now only with his play, but all over. He was on guys in the second quarter and then at halftime about our play. He’s doing everything you ask him to do. He’s guarding guys, he’s rebounding, he’s making big shots, he’s taking charges. I mean, I don’t know what else. He can cook Thanksgiving dinner for someone and then he’ll be doing it all. He’s been terrific.”
With the Celtics up by two points and less than a minute to play, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala got up a full head of steam and went straight to the basket. Iguodala is listed at 207 pounds, but at least 200 of that is muscle. Pierce stepped into the lane and took the contact.
“Well you know, it’s what we talk about,” Pierce said. “If the charge is there the coach wants us to step up and take the charge. That’s pretty much the only thing I could have done in that situation.”
Later in the game with the Celtics holding a three-point lead, Pierce and Rajon Rondo both executed the Celtics strategy to foul with less than 10 seconds remaining and not give the opponent a chance to tie the game.
“That’s something we talk about,” Pierce said. “That’s something we work on in practice. We were in that situation last year against the Bulls [in the playoffs] and Ben Gordon made a 3 and we should have fouled. That’s our strategy if it’s under 10 seconds that’s our strategy to foul.”
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