Paul Pierce chose the perfect season to surpass Larry Bird
By: Cian Fahey | Published Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 8:45 AM | Updated Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 8:45 AM
It was somewhat fitting that Paul Pierce surpassed Larry Bird on the Celtics' all-time scoring list this season. Pierce, with a 15 point performance against the Charlotte Bobcats, became the Celtics' second highest scorer in franchise history behind only John Havlicek last night.
During a season when many, including myself, had already written the Celtics off as old, slow and in trouble, Pierce has made the difference on the court for Doc Rivers' side.
With Pierce in the side, the Celtics are 14-7 on the year including the five game winning streak that they are currently enjoying. Without Pierce, the team started 0-3. It may have only been three games, but the contrast in the team without Pierce opposed to with him is startling.
Passing Bird on the all-time scoring list was fitting because Pierce's scoring has been so vital to the Celtics' season. Without him the team lacks an edge. Pierce is the only player capable of getting his own shot on a consistent basis.
Unlike Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett, he can be the focal point that the offense runs through or put points on the board in isolation situations. His 18.4 points per game leads the team and also includes a shooting percentage of over 40 from behind the arc.
The Celtics biggest problems on the court this year have been on offense.
Defensively, Kevin Garnett can still lead the group while Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal are having excellent seasons at that end of the court. If Pierce can continue to be the spark for the team on offense, there will be no need for the Celtics to blow up the roster as I previously said that they should.
Surpassing Larry Bird may be a huge part of Paul Pierce's legacy once his career has finished, but his scoring this year is extending his play on the court so much so that he can forget about his legacy and possibly look to reignite a previously quenched title challenge in Boston.