Give the game what it needs.
That’s a refrain Paul Pierce has sung multiple times during the past couple weeks. When Rajon Rondo’s out, Pierce often needs to become more of a distributor. So that’s what he does — 12 dimes against Indiana, to go with 18 points and 10 boards. If he needs to score, he can do that too. He can score 32 points, hit a step-back game winner, and then run a victory lap, to boot. If he needs to focus his efforts to rebound, or defend, or anything else, well, that’s what Paul Pierce usually does.
Yesterday, Pierce’s whole “give the game what it needs” mentality failed to work out. Rather than step up in Rondo and Kevin Garnett’s absence, Pierce released the basketball version of a silent but deadly fart: six turnovers, 0-4 from the three-point arc, only 12 points and three assists (and 7 rebounds). Pierce wasn’t happy with his performance, and offered his best Rickey Henderson impression (example: “Rickey Henderson is the best baserunner ever,” said Rickey Henderson) while speaking to reporters. (Boston Herald)
“For us to look back and say if such and such was out here maybe it would have been different . . . maybe Paul Pierce has to do a better job of stepping up his game,” he said.
“I really didn’t come to play today — evident when you look up (and see) six turnovers, but we only lose by two.
The responsibility is on the guys who are out on the floor.”
Ray Allen agreed with Pierce: the Celtics who are still standing need to step up.
“We’ve been in a survival mode now for a couple of weeks to months with guys out,” Allen said. “Glen has to step up and try to take part in filling some of Kevin’s shoes — and Jermaine and Shaq, for sure. I’m sure Semih (Erden) will get some minutes. . . .
“Whatever this team needs from me or Paul, I think he feels the same way, that we just have to figure it out. We still want to win games. If you have to score 10 points a game to make it happen, or if you have to have 20, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
“It’s important that everybody feels that way, too. Just because Kevin’s out or Paul’s out or I’m out, it doesn’t mean that the next guy’s going to get all the shots. It just means that there’s a premium on everybody making plays. When Rondo’s out, me and Paul have to shoulder more of the responsibility to make plays and get everybody involved.
As a team, we have to step up.”
The Celtics all need to pick up the slack left by the injuries, but there’s a right way to go about it. There’s also a wrong way. See: Glen Davis.
Note to Glen — You aren’t a three-point shooter. Not even if you’re wide open, and especially not in the fourth quarter, and especially especially not when your team’s down three with only 1:13 remaining. (Boston Herald)
“I’m going to let you say that,” Rivers said of Davis’ lapse in judgment. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that. We also turned the ball over, and in a game that was going at a snail’s pace we turned the ball over (19) times. That hurt us as well.
“But yeah, we had a little bit of hero ball,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. And usually you lose when you do that. So we lost.”
At some point, we knew injuries would take their toll. Now, with an injury ward that’s a small forward away from being a contender (Rondo-West-Garnett-Perkins), it looks like the C’s are finally slowing down.
If they want to stop slowing down, they need to start stepping up. And — I’m looking at you, Big Baby — stepping up intelligently.