Paul Pierce Is A Celtics For Life Since He Came To This League
Boston Celtics (1998-present)
After his NBA debut, Pierce's ability to score, rebound and play defense, and a healthy dose of late-game heroics led to his emergence as a top player in the Eastern Conference. Along with forward Antoine Walker, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs in 2002 for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the historic Game 3 of that series, he led the Celtics to one of the biggest fourth-quarter comebacks in NBA playoff history. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 point total during the fourth quarter, and the Celtics recovered from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets.
Paul Pierce during his 1999–2000 NBA season
Pierce has averaged 22.0 points per game over his 14-year NBA career and is a 10-time NBA All-Star. Trade rumors involving Pierce swirled when Danny Ainge returned as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations in May 2003. Ainge laid most of these rumors to rest in the 2006 off-season by signing Pierce to a 3-year, $59 million contract extension. Pierce is the only player left from the moment Ainge took over.
Pierce has often played his best games against the best individual competition, such as LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryant. For instance, Pierce scored a career high 50 points in a loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 15, 2006. After the game, James stated that he feels that Pierce is the top at the position in the Eastern Conference.
Injury and missing playoffs
In the 2005-06 NBA season, Pierce had the highest points-per-shot average among the top 30 scorers in the league, indicating that he is an efficient and consistent player. On March 8, 2006, Pierce extended his franchise-record streak of 30-point games at 8. On March 7, he scored seven points in overtime to beat the Washington Wizards on a "buzzer beater", and the next night the Celtics eked out a victory against Philadelphia on the strength of two late-game improbable shots by Pierce, one a three-pointer, the other an off-balance "buzzer beater" for the win. He scored at least 30 points for the 13th time in 14 games (between February 4 and March 12), the best such stretch in Celtics history.
He followed up this stellar season with an injury-riddled 2006–07 campaign that saw him miss the first significant stretch of games in his career, due to a stress reaction in his foot. In spite of this injury, he still managed to put up his usual stellar numbers in the 47 games in which he saw action. But the Celtics, during that season, would have an 18-game losing streak and one of the worst seasons in franchise history, going 24–58.
A glance at Paul Pierce's offensive production, highlighting his overall points per play (with percentile rank among all NBA players), then the percentage of his top play-types (with points per play and percentile):
|Season||Overall PPP||Off Screen||Transition||Spot-up||Isolation|
|* Pierce’s top play type during the 2009-10 season was pick-and-roll ball-handler, accounting for 18.3% of his plays. This season, pick-and-roll ball-handler accounts for a mere 10.3% of his plays.|