So Pierce has what is currently called a strained meniscus. That could have a big effect on his lateral movement… depending on how much pain he's in. So what does it mean for the C's in Game 2 tomorrow night?
On offense: Pain in the right knee means Pierce could have trouble going to his left (since you push off with your right). If I'm Vlad Radmanovic, I'm overplaying him and forcing him left right away to test him out. To compensate, the Celtics might want to consider some pick-and-rolls to allow Pierce to go right early… until his body warms up and gets into the flow of the game.
If there is pain in that knee, then I'd expect a few more jumpers than normal from Pierce. He might only make enough moves to free up his shooting hand… so the Lakers will probably try to go over the top of picks… because going behind them will only let Pierce shoot. If the Lakers go over the top, chances are good the man who sets the screen will be able to seal off his man… and roll to the hoop for some good looks.
So if all that plays out… Pierce should be able to take a dribble or two to the right and hit a rolling Garnett for some good 8-10 foot looks.
This also means that Ray Allen will probably have to become our primary slasher… which could be tough to do if they have Kobe guarding him.
On Defense: The Celtics will probably want to avoid Pierce on Kobe in this game. It might mean more Posey… it might mean some Tony Allen. But if Pierce has any limitations in his lateral movement… then Pierce will have a hard time when Kobe drives right. The C's might have to hide Pierce a little on D… which would be a setback. He's been a very good defender throughout the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what will happen when Vujacic and Farmar are in the game.
I wonder if the Lakers are going to try something new and bring Vujacic in early to test Pierce on D. I might consider starting him… to force Pierce to have to move around and put some pressure on that knee in the first quarter. This way, you know what you're dealing with. Pierce will either be able to move freely… or he'll have trouble pushing off. You want to go at him early: beginning of the game… after timeouts… after he's been sitting for a while… out of the half.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Pierce with a brace on that knee to stabilize his lateral movement… along with a sleeve to keep that knee warm. I hope it is enough to keep Paul's mind at ease… and his knee loose. Any hinderance in his movement will have a big effect on the game. Pierce is a warrior who will gut his way through the pain… but will it cost him enough movement to take away from his production?