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Red's Army

Your Morning Dump… Where Paul Pierce isn’t himself

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) January 25, 2013 Celtics News, The Morning Dump 28 Comments

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..

Pierce, battling a terrible shooting slump, connected on 6 of 15 shots overall, but it wasn’t the fact that he missed nine attempts; it was the fact that he passed up open looks in key moments and then let the game slip away with a turnover on the Celtics’ final possession as the Knicks escaped with their first win in Boston since 2006.

With the Celtics down 84-82 with little more than two minutes to go, a driving Avery Bradley kicked to Pierce at the top of the key. Pierce, 0-for-12 over the past five games from beyond the top of the arc, elected to get a charging Jason Kidd in the air with a pump fake, then stepped up to his elbow sweet spot. Even with a triangle of defenders including Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith in front of him, Pierce had space to get up a shot. Instead, he kicked to Avery Bradley, who missed a corner 3 that would have given Boston the lead.

“I’m taking the Paul shot,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Nothing against Avery, but Paul Pierce wide open at the elbow? He turned into Kevin Garnett for one play, where you want him to shoot and he makes the pass. You can’t fault him for moving the ball.”

ESPN Boston: Wayward Pierce sinks Celtics again

Pierce came out and looked like he was going to deliver another vintage performance.  And while there is no doubt in my mind that some of Pierce’s current problem is simply due to a 35 year-old player coasting through stretches to preserve himself for the important part of the schedule, there’s also the part that sees him not hitting the shots he’d normally hit even in mid-coast.

Worse, though, was the final minute and those two turnovers, and passing up what would normally be a good look for him so Avery Bradley can shoot a corner 3.  Don’t get me wrong, Bradley’s ability to hit that shot has developed nicely, but there were at least two different instances on that possession that seemed like good spots for Pierce to shoot.

And the turnovers… well… those were bad.  There was good defense by the Knicks, no doubt, but there’s also no doubt those plays should have been made.

I don’t know if Pierce’s impending mortality has something to do with it (this quote about the All Star game isn’t heartening:  ”You knew eventually that day was going to come. You have a lot of young, great players in this league that have really stepped up this year. And they are all well-deserving”).  Maybe the guy who called everyone out about a lack of confidence is suffering through the loss of some of his own.

Or maybe it’s just a slump, and Pierce will be back to his old self at some point.  As much as we all want to make this a 2+2=old argument, it’s also possible Pierce will snap out of it at some point and return to the efficiency that has marked the past few years of his career.

That’s yet to be seen, though.  And until it does, the light will shine brighter on the Captain, leaving him in a hauntingly familiar position:  the overly scrutinized best scoring option on a bad team.

The rest of the links:

CSNNE:  C’s lose 5th straight  |  Uneven play makes wins hard to come by |  Camby: Garnett is an intense player |  Pierce left off All Star team for the first time since 2007  |  ESPN Boston:  Loss overshadows Rondo’s triple double  |  Pierce left off All Star reserves  |  Ainge:  Rives was frustrated in Detroit  |  WEEI:  Melo: feud “overrated”   |  Rondo’s triple double can’t break skid  |  LeBron thinks Pierce got snubbed  |  Doc reiterates “I’ve got to find a way”  |  Globe: Pierce left off All Star team |  Knicks silence Celtics  |  Little fight in Melo & KG  |  Herald:  C’s deny pumping in sound  |  KG more than a mouthful  |  Melo, KG agree to make peace on the court |  Better Celtics still taste defeat  |  Feud over, not losses  |  MWDN: Slide hits five

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  • Cam

    Remember KG last year for the first half of the year and not getting selected as all-star?

    Let’s hope Pierce has a similarly successful second half of the year

  • Chuck – Red’s Army

    Somebody hacked John’s account and wrote this Dump. No way John writes anything critical of the Truth.

    • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

      I don’t know where you get this misguided notion that I don’t see what’s going on. Just because I’m not in a hurry to declare the end of his career and trade him for loose change like you are doesn’t mean I don’t see what’s happening.

      • KGino

        tell em John

      • Larry Legend

        Goddamn right John.

      • Me

        why dont just trade brandon bass

  • Stephanie

    Was anyone at the game? Was the crowd really that quiet last night? Melo said he expected a rowdy crowd, but it was quiet and the reporters are saying the crowd was very quiet..hmm.

    • eddysamson

      they even said the stadium was playing an applause track and it was fake half the time they audience sounded loud.

      • Stephanie

        I know Marv had a 10 min rant about it. Celtics released a statement on twitter saying it was false, but I really expected the fans to be up for this game. Especially with it being a closely played game.

        • eddysamson

          I’m guessing the crowd was quiet because they were expecting to be able to go nuts with all their Honey Nut Cheerios gear only to show up and have it taken away. Probably killed the energy for a lot of those people who were looking forward to this night in particular for that reason only to have it taken away :(

          • Stephanie

            Yeah, that makes sense. I know some people probably had shirts and signs and were ready to pounce on him. I knew something was up though cuz I know the C’s crowd is loud.

        • zippittyay

          the NBA should fine Marv Albert for saying that without any proof whatsoever…

          • Stephanie

            I guess Marv was questioned about it afterward and he said “He really doesn’t know if they use it, it just seems like they do.”

            That’s BS..he’s on Nat’l tv talking like he knows for a fact then when he’s off the air it’s “oh I don’t know”.

          • KGino

            I now hate Marv Albert.. I’ve been to dozens and dozens of Celtics games and I’ve never once questioned the crowd noise being artificial. Never even thought about it.

          • http://driveittothemoon.com/ Lee in Oregon

            All anyone needs to know about about Marv is in a 15 year-old police report.

    • Larry Legend

      Stephanie, I was there. No buzz. It was late arriving as usual, but usually it picks in big especially. Not last night. Very soft crowd. Disappointing.

      • Larry Legend

        Picks up in big games…sorry

  • eddysamson

    The Cs defense is back to being pretty good, but now we cant score! Its silly. We started off the season pretty hot offensively and pretty cold defensively and now we’ve switched!

    We’ve seen both sides do really well this year and we’ve seen games where the bench wins it and games where the starters win it…hopefully in this second half of the season both of these come together and we see some consistency!

    • KGino

      good eye eddy… I agree. Once both sides of the ball come together we’ll go on a 7+ game win streak.

  • RedsLoveChild

    By no means is Pierce the only major problem facing the Celtics.

    However, once you get past his name, his credentials, his HOF career, his well deserved reputation….you have to look long and hard to find a worse starting SF in the NBA today than PP.

    There`s not a chance in hell Pierce will be a Celtic next year.

    • Jon with no H

      you could look long and hard or you could’ve looked at the Knicks and saw Iman Shumpert

    • KGino

      I could name at least 10 worse starting sfs than Pierce off the top of my head

  • Steve

    Why are people so afraid to say that Pierce is old? … “a 35 year-old player coasting through stretches to preserve himself for the important part of the schedule …” I’d say a game against a rival in the midst of a 4-game losing streak for an 8th-seeded team is a pretty important part of the schedule. He’s old, folks. Admit it.

  • Stephanie

    I think us as fans need to face the fact that we’re only peeking into the playoffs because we’re in the EC and it’s been that way for awhile, but we’ve just been jaded by a weak conference. The sooner we come to grips with that, the better.

  • MJBarbosa

    Its very sad seeing your favorite player struggle

  • Jim

    Hope the Celtics don’t panic and trade away Bradley and Sully for some temporary dead cat bounce, so we can finish as seventh seed instead of eighth and kiss our future goodbye.

  • frickenWaaaltaaah

    It sucks but come this is not the start of spring training and all of a sudden Lou Gehrig is dropping grounders and can’t hit curve balls anymore.

    It’s late January. The All-Star break is just around the corner. Pierce is 36…

    He just needs a few of those Popavich style “DNP – Old” nights off.

    • Rain

      Agree. If PP is not doing what he should do, why not give JG more minutes?