The Celtics are a better team when they run their offense through Paul Pierce. That much has been evident in their last two games, both wins. It was evident tonight when the Celtics were able to execute offensively despite the absences of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.
After the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was running his team's offense through Pierce and not backup point guard Avery Bradley.
"Offensively obviously we're not running much point-guard stuff," said Rivers. "We're basically running a lot of elbow, we're throwing it to the bigs and letting them make the decisions. And that's been good for us, too. And you know, playing through Paul, basically. So really on offense Paul is almost the point guard."
Pierce isn't exactly Rondo, but he's well-suited to run the team's offense. He's the only Celtics player who can create his own shot outside of Rondo, and the Celtics don't really want Rondo creating by himself unless it's at the rim. In the team's first three games without Pierce, the Celtics went 0-3. They scored fewer than 90 points in five straight games when Pierce was getting his fitness back. They've scored 96 and 100 points in two of their last four games, with a loss to the Suns and tonight's dominating 87-56 win mixed in.
"I'm just trying to make the right play, find the open shooters" said Pierce. "When Rondo's out there I don't have as much ball-handling responsibilities, but now I have more of that."
Pierce has led the Celtics in assists in four straight games, but more than that, he's drawing defensive attention now because teams know he can follow through on the threat. He made just 6 of 14 shots from the field tonight, but he got to the line six times and still led the Celtics in scoring with 19 points. That the Celtics won despite an off shooting night for Pierce is a great sign.
"We don't use anything for an excuse, because guys are hurt, because it's a back-to-back," said Pierce. "We expect to win this game."
The Celtics will be in contention to win more games if they get the Pierce of the last two games and not the Pierce of the first part of the season.
-- Celtics forward Glen Davis said he appreciated the video tribute the Celtics gave to him during the first quarter, but he did have one complaint.
"I looked really big, like really fat," said Davis. " I was like 'WOW!, chubby'. I look a little more leaner now. But it was good. It?s always good to see things like that, memories. I can never forget. The fans showed love and I appreciate that.?