I did a little writing for The Classical series “Why We Watch,” focusing on Paul Pierce’s years of faking us all out. Here’s a little bit of it:
Your eyes tell you that Pierce is not doing those things. Even as he backpedals and blows kisses to the Madison Square Garden crowd after yet another masterful one-man Broadway show, your eyes tell you he’s not shooting as well has he has in years past. He’s always looked slow, and on many nights now he looks slower still.
So maybe this is foreshadowing, the moment when King Longshanks starts coughing in Braveheart. Sure, Pierce just torched the division leading Knicks, out-dueling MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony and seemingly reviving the Celtics season. Yes, he led a 33-9 third quarter charge against the Hawks, dropping 17 points in 12 vintage minutes. But he’s also the same guy who just a few games ago shot a combined 9-for-33 against the very young, and very fast, Warriors and Clippers. He’s the same guy who just went 3-for-15 from three-point range against the Bobcats and Hornets. The cough is only going to get worse.
And so the temptation is to start outlining the obituaries. At 35, it’s got to end soon, right? No athlete in the world has been able to break this mobius strip of a career cycle. Pierce is different, but there has to be a limit to that. Eventually, even the most finely tuned of bodies break down, and all the deceptive strength and speed and grace in his body notwithstanding, Pierce’s is not the most finely tuned of bodies. Except.
Except… you have to read the whole thing on The Classical. I hope you enjoy my take on what makes Paul Pierce so great, and why this lull of his is just another up-fake on all of us.