Rajon Rondo is now our best all around player. Ray Allen is still our best shooter and Kevin Garnett showed that on some nights he can still look like the KG of old (instead of just an old KG). However, there's no doubt that our best scorer and offensive threat has to be Paul Pierce. So it is no surprise that the team looks a lot better with him in the lineup than without.
Sure, the team as a whole has benefited from playing against a couple of teams that will be watching ping pong balls closer than playoff basketball come summer, but still. The Celtics at least made the first two games exciting at the end and you never know what a healthy Paul Pierce could have done to tip the scales - in particular in the Knicks game.
The offense looks just so much smoother with him on the court. Spacing is better, the flow works better, and he gives everyone else on the court more confidence (an underrated aspect of the game I think). Still, the best is when the offense somehow gets clogged up and stalls for some reason - Pierce is the one guy that you can isolate and just let him make something out of nothing. Sometimes it is an off balance jumper that still finds the net or perhaps it will be a pinball through the lane that gets him to the line. When the clock is winding down, there's still nobody on the team with the same combination of cool head and offensive creativity as our captain.
And the really good news is that it sounds like he's recovering well from the heel issue that kept him out of the first three games.
Paul Pierce was back in the lineup last night after making his season debut Friday. The bruised right heel that kept him out of the first three games held up well against the Pistons. "He said he was very sore, but it wasn’t his heel," coach Doc Rivers said before tipoff versus the Wizards, a game the Celtics [team stats] won 94-86. "It was just his body which is a pretty good sign, I guess." Rivers said Pierce’s conditioning will determine how long he plays in the next few games.
"I’ll use the [season’s first] eight games like the preseason,’’ he said. "The foot is really holding up pretty good. It’s not totally 100 percent but it is bearable. I’m just right now trying to get my legs under me in game shape. But that’s going to come.’’
Take all the time you need to get your wind Paul. We'll need you for the home stretch and the playoffs.