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.
He submitted a forgettable first half against the younger, quicker, more agile Thunder. But, when the third quarter started, the captain stamped his imprint on the game, ripping off seven straight points (a fallaway, a drive to the hole and a 3-pointer) to push Boston’s lead to 8.
It was one of those stream-of-consciousness offensive explosions that provided a flashback for Kendrick Perkins, the former Celtics center who now sets bruising screens for Oklahoma City.
“Seen it before,” Perkins said. “Hundreds of times. Paul can score. He’ll always be able to score.”
In the final quarter, Pierce strung together another 3-pointer, a pair of free throws off an acrobatic spin move, then absolutely schooled the overmatched Kevin Martin to push the Celtics in front 88-76. It was the kind of matchup Boston’s coaching staff is working hard to unearth so Pierce can exploit smaller defenders.
Except for an ill-advised 27-footer with 3 minutes remaining, Pierce was brilliant last night. But, as with most scorers, you gotta take the bad with the good. Pierce was 0-2 with one turnover and a foul in the final three minutes of last night’s 108-100 win over OKC. Fortunately his teammates were there to pick him up.
This game was a subtle reminder of Pierce’s importance to the Celtics success. Rajon Rondo gets a lot of attention for his flashy passing and Kevin Garnett is the defensive anchor and motivator, but Pierce is the glue. He’s also a guy we sometimes take for granted.
The OKC media paid the proper respect:
Pending Hall of Famer Paul Pierce scored 22 second-half points for the Celtics, but it seemed like 42. He finished 8 for 16 from the field, but it seemed like 18 for 26. He made some incredibly difficult shots, but also converted some ridiculously open shots. – NewsOK
OKC’s closeouts on Paul Pierce were embarrassingly bad tonight. The Thunder consistently fell asleep or lazily contested as Pierce just punished them from outside. Pierce was spectacular, no doubt, but he can make open looks when he doesn’t have a hand in his face. - Daily Thunder
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics stave off Thunder | Herald – Pierce, Green split decision | Celts make statement | Terry takes his shot at fame | CSNNE – Celtics shut down Thunder | Rondo, Westbrook flirt with triple doubles | Perkins key to Thunder success | Green lights up former team | ESPN Boston – For Garnett, no rollover minutes | Just another game? | WEEI – Doc Rivers: That’s who we have to be | Thunderous: Green, Pierce impressive in win