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In Appreciation of Paul Pierce

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New faces dominate the news surrounding the Celtics.   Kevin Garnett is an MVP candidate.  Ray Allen can take over a game in a heartbeat when he heats up from outside.  PJ Brown and Sam Cassell are working out the kinks and shaking off the rust.  But one constant, all year and for the duration of his career, has been Paul Pierce.

Some notes from Bulpett in the Herald:

Rivers said he got a phone call from a very good coach in our league, "one of the best, and all he talked about was Paul Pierce and how he’s changed his game in front of everybody’s eyes, doing everything, doing all the little things, being a passer, being a great teammate. Just everything. That, for me to hear from somebody else, was really special. That was nice. He’s been great."

You don’t have to convince Garnett.

"I’ve got Paul for MVP this year," he said. "You know, he does a lot of things, little small things, that people don’t see. There’s only three people I really like to watch on offense and he’s one of them. He makes scoring look easy. He has this uncanny confidence about himself that I love. It’s not cockiness. It’s self-assurance and it’s beautiful. I told you he’s one of the reasons why I came here."

More from Marc Spears in the Globe:

"This is probably one of my better seasons overall," said the 10-year veteran. "Maybe not numbers-wise, but with the team's success and everything we've got going on, I'm shooting a career best from the free throw line. I want to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

"Numbers-wise, I can't say it, but this is one of the better years that I've had."

"I don't know if I've really adjusted my game," Pierce said. "Shoot, this is the way I've wanted to play if we had players around me. I was a victim of young teams, lesser-talented teams, so I had to do more. I had to do a more overall game and do things to help my ball club win. I don't have to take all the shots.

"I know what I'm capable of, a more well-rounded game. I can play at a different pace, know when to turn it up, when not to, because of the guys they have around me."

"I appreciate every moment I get to be around these guys," Pierce said. "When I look back, I don't want to say I didn't take advantage of the guys around me. Each and every day I try to enjoy it."