Paul Pierce didn’t even make it to the Garden last night. With the flu joining a sprained right thumb among Pierce’s ailments, Doc Rivers told Pierce he could stay home.
Thursday night, Boston takes on Cleveland in a showdown of two Eastern Conference powerhouses. Pierce is listed as day-to-day for now, and is questionable for the game according to the Boston Herald.
“He may have, but I don’t know,” Doc Rivers said of whether Pierce has had tests taken on the thumb, which clearly bothered him during Sunday’s loss in Denver.
“I’m confident with any of our guys being out,” said the Celtics coach, referring to this season’s onslaught of injuries. “We’ve done it all year.
“We can win without him – just not for a long time without him. We need him back, but we need him back healthy.”
I, for one, would be surprised to see Pierce miss a game against Lebron and co. As he admitted about himself the other night, Pierce is a “warrior” who doesn’t like to miss any games. Never mind a game against the NBA’s alpha dog.
If I were Pierce? Eff playing Lebron. I’d take the night off. The man is too good. I’d wait for the following game, when I could be matched up against the Nets’ Trenton Hassell and Chris Douglas-Roberts instead of Bron-Bron. Against those guys, Pierce could take the night off and still score about 20 and come away with a W. Who wants a matchup with Lebron when you can just wait one game to abuse inferior competition?
Seriously, though, Pierce should probably skip the game on Thursday — no matter how badly he wants the chance to compete against the best. I have no idea what kind of pain he’s in, obviously, but if he feels any discomfort whatsoever he might as well sit until he’s 100%. Look at Kobe Bryant: He sat against the Celtics, when I’m sure he would have loved to play, and the extra rest allowed him to recharge his batteries and heal his sore ankle.
What did Kobe do in his return to action last night? Oh, nothing but a ho-hum 32 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and a game-winning jumper. He shot 13-19, and was spry enough on that ankle to take off for a couple monster dunks.
Pierce, I’m sure you hate Kobe, but take a lesson from him: It’s okay to sit out a few games.
The championship isn’t won in February, my friend.