For basketball players… the court can be a sanctuary. Distractions of the outside world melt away when the ball goes up… and few players have had to deal with more of a distraction than Paul Pierce… with all the hand-jive lunacy of the past few days. Making it worse was the fact that Paul was shooting somewhere in the 20% range from inside the 3 point line in games 1-4.
So there Paul Pierce was… before game 5… casually strolling out onto the court as the jumbo-tron boomed with KG's yell… and the pyrotechnics filled the air… and the rest of the starters sat on the bench. Everyone did their normal pregame thing when their names were called…. except Pierce. No hand signals. No low fives. He just stood there at the end of the line… where he had been since before the first name was called. When his name was announced… he just took the warm-ups off… and went to work.
What followed was a 10-17 shooting performance… punctuated by spin move after spin move. He grabbed 7 big rebounds… took charges (including some that weren't called). He passed (6 assists)… and by the time Gino started dancing… he was smiling again. He left without talking to the media… content to let the game speak for itself.
It's nice to see the aggressive, slashing, do-it-all Paul Pierce back. This was the type of game that made us think in March "You know… you can really make a case that Pierce should be the MVP." I know KG gets the loudest "MVP" chants at the Garden… but we need game 5 Pierce every night. If he shows up in game 6… you can put the Celtics down as winning the first round in 5-and-a-half games.
Herald: Pierce's big night speaks volumes | Garden Party | Cassell's time to shine | Celtics make it look simple | Big Papi a Horford fan | Joe Johnson: It ain't over yet | 'Nique thankful for help | Powe plays a big role | Globe: Pierce tries hand at issuing statement | How did we get here? | Hawks old habits return | Horford didn't hit rookie wall | Game 5 photo gallery | Souza: Back on track | Megliola: C's avoid ignominy | AJC: Do the Hawks believe in themselves? | SI: C's-Hawks fast breaks | ESPN's Hollinger: Basketball world returns to normal | Durant to become ROY | Mavs fire Avery Johnson | Wiz hang on | Arenas out of playoffs