Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
"I'll play wherever they put me," he shrugged.
And that, in a nutshell, is what makes Pierce so valuable to the Celtics. Whatever the team is lacking, he's the one picking up the slack, often morphing his talents to fill a void.
“I have to make more plays now that Rondo’s out," he said. "Usually, I’m the recipient of a lot of Rondo’s passes, but with him out, I’m taking on some part in that role and it's just up to me to be responsible, to know when to find guys and have a balance on when to score.”
Since Rondo went down, Pierce has also averaged 20.8 points, 6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1 block over 34.6 minutes per game. Boston is 5-1 over its last six games, the only loss coming in what might have been Pierce's quietest night of the stretch against Phoenix.
Pierce is averaging 8 assists per game over the last 6 games. He is reason #1 the Celtics have climbed back to .500. I've read a bunch of comments about how the young guys have helped power this team.. and they've helped. But it's been Pierce's contribution as a passer, rebounder and scorer that have led the Celtics' resurgence.
This is why Pierce was mentioned when the vultures were swirling around the team when they were struggling. Paul Pierce, who is still not all the way back, can still get the job done.
It's been amazing to watch how Pierce stepped up lately. His ability to do so is just incredible.
On Page 2: The bench gets some love too
“Well, they see them,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s always been a pull-push thing in the NBA. The older players pull the younger guys along, and the younger guys push the veterans.
“(The reserves) just play as hard as they can. Literally I’ve simplified it to three sets. That’s all we’re running, and that way they can function. That makes it easier for them.”
The result is that overall the Celtics are playing with a far greater energy. And even though they’re infusing new people into the mix, there is more cohesion.
“We have a blueprint now,” Rivers said. “We know how we can win.
Add this to the Pierce thing and we're starting to see a little bit of why some of us were excited about the job Danny Ainge did this offseason. The bench CAN contribute.
Here's the one question as guys work their way back: Can the bench do it all together? Chris Wilcox had a huge game against Indiana… but Paul Pierce assisted on half his baskets. I think Pierce assisted on all four of E'Twaun Moore's 3's in the Orlando game.
Can the bench play together as a single unit and generate this level of results? They wouldn't have to do it for long, but it would be nice to see a full second unit out there on the floor being productive.
Until then, they deserve a lot of credit for their energy and effort. It's been a very pleasant surprise.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Video: NBA Tonight on streaking C's | C's should hope for quiet Kaman market | CSNNE: For Allen, naming a child is about consistency | Herald: International debate | Globe: Image makeover