Bothered by a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Pierce has averaged a lowly 10.5 points and converted just 5 of 20 field goal attempts in the series, defended vigorously by Andre Iguodala, whose body resembles a series of long bones padded by sharply defined muscles. Iguodala’s lankiness is giving Pierce problems, and the knee problem is not allowing Pierce to explode to the basket.
But his lack of production has also been a byproduct of inactivity. Twenty shots in 77 minutes is a stunningly low number for an All-Star scorer. By comparison, Brandon Bass has attempted 24 (in 48 minutes), Rajon Rondo 27, Ray Allen 24, and Avery Bradley 17.
The knee injury unquestionably is an issue, but that should not stop him from attempting to get to the free throw line or imposing his will offensively. The results may be ghastly sometimes, but it is better than watching Pierce stand on the perimeter while Garnett gets gobbled up by triple-teams.
Andre Iguodala is a helluva individual defensive player. It's likely he'd be giving Paul Pierce fits even if Pierce's was 100 percent.
But… if the Celtics are going to go down, they might as well go down with Pierce swinging. This "Pierce has a decoy" scheme isn't working.
When the Celtics absolutely, positively needed Pierce to deliver in Game 2 of the Hawks series, he churned out a marvelous performance.
Get Pierce the ball, early and often. Let's see if he can be aggressive despite the knee. Let's see if the jumper is falling. Let's see if he can facilitate the offense and rebound.
If not… I'd put him on the bench. Mickael Pietrus hasn't exactly been lighting it up, but he showed signs of life in the 4th quarter of Game 2. Hell, I'd even look at Marquis Daniels.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Wondering how low they'll go | Allen there to carry the load | CSNNE – Celtics look to improve individual defense | Celtics struggle as Garnett's touches diminish | Celtics head into Philly full of confidence | Herald – Celtics may pay dearly for mental miscues | Celtics try to strike delicate balance | Pietrus returns to Philly | WEEI – Where did the offense go?
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