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On game-winners, I was a late bloomer

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  April 25, 2010 10:27 AM

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I think everyone who plays the game of basketball, they’ve been in their backyard, or they’ve been on that playground envisioning it -- clock winding down, last-second shot, game on the line.

That moment started for me back in the like sixth grade, on the court by myself. You envision it and when it actually happens it’s like, “Wow, this is what I’ve played the game all these years for.”

I really can’t explain it. I think you have to have a certain confidence, when it’s actually on the line and for all the money. Referees on the floor. Fans in the crowd. You’ve got to believe the shot’s going in.

The saying is that the player taking the game-winner in the NBA was the same player that took it in college, in high school, in rec ball.

I don’t know how true that is. I know I didn’t take it in sixth, seventh grade. I know I didn’t take it in the ninth grade. I made one game-tying shot in high school. But I never had a chance to take a game-winner in an actual game until my pro career.

You remember them all. The one Friday night is up there because it’s a playoff moment. But the one in DC against the Wizards. That was one of my tougher ones. That was one of my favorites at the time because it was kind of a little mini-rivalry with us at the time, with Gilbert Arenas. That’s one of my favorites.

But to actually go out there and do it, you really can’t believe it. But when you think about it, it’s like all these years, you were really preparing for it.
As told to Globe reporter Julian Benbow.

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Paul Pierce is the captain of the Boston Celtics. Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 1998 out of Kansas, and led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008, when he was the NBA Finals MVP. More »

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