So, can we FINALLY say it? Can we FINALLY get it out of the way for good?
Paul Pierce IS the Celtics. As he goes, they go. No Pierce, no justice...no justice, no Pierce.
Seriously, though, I know it's just one game and he's been out for others and the C's have sometimes managed to pull it out, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and eschew the usual statistical self gratification and state purely and entirely from my gut...the Celtics have lost more games without Paul Pierce in the lineup than with Garnett out or Rondo out of the lineup, respectively. In other words, the Celtics best chance at winning with a missing player is with Pierce NOT being that missing player. Even when he's sub-par and sometimes even sub-zero, he still produces and helps to propel the team with his confidence and swiss-army knife-like skillz. To paraphrase the Louis Vuitton Don from Chicago, "Pierce could stand there with his points at zero and still be looked at as a F***in' hero." He's THAT good.
To be fair, yesterday's rumble with the Bobcats had all the familiar symptoms of the impending "Trap Game." Coming off of a closer-than-it-turned-out loss to arguably the NBA's second-best team, missing your key veteran...
Enter the Toronto Raptors and cue the return of Captain Paul Pierce. Fifteen points, four rebounds, four assists, one block and one new milestone later? Celtics = 112 Raptors = 88 and Geno-Time.
While The Truth didn't do anything spectacular with respect to in-game statistics tonight (unless you count the all-out assault he executed against the basket all night, leading to 11 foul attempts and 9 makes), he still managed to pass the legendary Round Mound of Rebound himself, Sir Charles Barkley on the All-Time scoring list to gain top-20 status.
Kevin Garnett, the other Basketball-God-In-Waiting, also recorded an amazing achievement by doing Pierce one better, or should I say five better, by moving into 15th place all-time, passing Laker legend Jerry West with 25,201 points.
Yup, P2 just keeps on climbing the ladder of greatness as he moves ever closer to basketball immortality.
Special shout out to Jeff Green, who scored a team-high 20 points, 6 rebounds 3 assists, 2 steals and one block and the rest of the Celtics who have gotten back on the road to winning by thrashing the Dinos at home with a tremendously balanced scoring effort with no fewer than 7 players in double figures (BOX SCORE and Tale of the Tape).
But, this here post is all about Pauly P.
In fact, I'm not even gonna tell you anymore how great The Truth is...I'm gonna let sage Celtics historian Jackie MacMullen do it for me (in case you missed this special story on ESPN).