… or maybe the alternate title is “An indicator of how high we’ve set the bar for Paul.”
Pretend we haven’t seen Paul struggle… or debate whether he’s hurt or exhausted… or yelled at the TV when he inexplicably played sloppy. If you were to come back from a 2 week vacation and long on to check Pierce’s stats and see how he was doing, this is what you’d see:
- 24 points, 44.6% fg, 37% 3pt, 6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 3.4 turnovers
Compare this to his regular season stats:
- 20.5 points, 45.7% fg, 39.1% 3pt, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1 steal and 2.8 turnovers
If you haven’t seen a minute of these playoffs, you’d probably think “Ok, his points are up and assists are down because he’s picking up some of KG’s slack. He’s turning the ball over a little more than usual, but not much… so he must be playing well.”
But how many people think Pierce is playing well? He had a great finish last night. He has hit clutch shots in this series. But I think overall, most of us would think he’s having a bit of an off series.
So I guess the question is: Is Paul Pierce so good, that his “off” series is averaging 24 and 6… or have we set the bar so high, that we expect Pierce to dominate every game, and average 30+ while shooting 50% or better?
I think it’s a little of both. I think it’s a little bit of Pierce being tired and picking his spots. I think it’s a little bit of Pierce being unselfish and recognizing that (a) if we can’t get Ray’s offense going, we’re toast and (b) Rajon Rondo is dominating, so he doesn’t need to. I think it all adds up to Pierce being so good, being so clutch so often, that a good series isn’t good enough for us. We expect him to come through every single time he touches the ball, but that’s just impossible. No one does that. But he’s good enough to still provide the offense the team needs.
We might think this is an off series for Paul Pierce… but it might just be more proof of how good he really is.
Game note: Portland won their game, so the Celtics game Thursday starts at 7
Herald: Pierce picks his spot | Pierce, C’s outlast Bulls | Rondo sparks rallying cry | Ray Allen runs afoul of calls | Bulls shout foul over head shot | Del Negro earns notice | Doc fined $25k | Globe: Over and above | 4 quarters aren’t enough in this series | a flagrant disagreement | Taking charge of it is cool with him | Gordon didn’t seem hamstrung | Allen has to watch crunch time | What’s better is this year’s opponent | Camerato: Celtics have all the time in the world | Souza: Big 3 no more | ESPN Daily Dime: Pierce’s clutch touch | Spurs eliminated | Orlando up 3-2