Moving on with the “A Study in Green” series where we take a look at every Celtic player in the recent 2012/13 NBA season, we head on to the Truth himself, Paul Pierce. How good was the captain, and could he have done better in some areas this season?
What can we say about the Truth in the 2012/13 NBA season? Despite a persistent injury (pinched nerve in the neck, along with many other bumps and bruises that went unspoken), Pierce had a solid run in the period when Rondo first went down. Keeping up double-digit scoring in all but two games of the remaining season (8 points both) while simultaneously being the primary playmaker and an active defensive rebounder, I’m sure we all agree the captain kept the Celtics’ ship on course for the post-season.
Cue the familiar Pierce reply:
“I tell you guys all the time, I try to give the game what I feel it needs.” – Pierce turns playmaker to help Celtics beat Brooklyn, CSNNE
Indeed, where would we be without Paul Pierce? In the Knicks series, Truth had 19.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 5.3 APG. Not too shabby for an aging forward who had to carry an offensively-challenged team, and somehow pulled it off in a most heroic manner. Having said that, leaning on Pierce to win games just wasn’t going to cut it.
Turnovers. If there was anything to nitpick, it would be the casual, almost careless passes that PP threw on occasion, and the way he lost the ball when double-teamed. Averaging 5.3 costly TOs per game in the playoffs, this stat proved to be one of the fatal mistakes against the Knicks.
To make a point: Pierce averaged 2.9 turnovers in his career, and 5.3 TOs a game is close to doubling that figure. This was a bad sign, because your game is supposed to tighten up in the playoffs, not get worse. The only time he was worse on this column was in the 2003/04 post-season, when he averaged 6.3 TOs per game in the pre-Big Three era.
Honestly, there were plenty of other reasons for that figure. Blame the poor ball movement, guys standing around and not helping, plus coach Woodson cuing the Knicks defense into on the Celtics’ game plan on Pierce’s holding onto the ball, but the turnovers really hurt us badly.
The team just did not work solidly enough to take the load off Pierce’s shoulders. I would have liked to see him in a reduced role this season, but the injuries to multiple players forced him to pull more than he was supposed to. Basketball is a team game, and Truth is not going to give you 30 points every night without help, while being the playmaker and rebounder all rolled in one. The way he took everything on deserves nothing but respect.
Kudos once more to Paul Pierce, and let us hope we see him ending his career in green, the way he wanted to.
What did you think of The Truth’s performance this season? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a comment and let us know.