Happy Friday, everyone. Here are some Celtics/NBA-related things to think about leading up to tonight's rematch with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Paul Pierce Playing Well
With Rajon Rondo handing out 20,000 assists every night, and Kevin Garnett looking healthy once again, it's been easy to overlook the stellar season Paul Pierce has been having thus far.
Pierce is boasting averages of 21.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but it's been his shooting percentages that have really stuck out. He's shooting 51.6 percent from the field, a ridiculous 47.5 percent from three-point nation (his effective field goal percentage sits at an impressive 57.5), and an NBA-leading 94.1 percent from the free throw line. In his last four games, he's averaged 25 points.
"I'm just getting in the right spots, better understanding of the offense, (Rajon) Rondo's really finding me as I slash to the basket," Pierce said.
So far this season, 60.2 percent of Pierce's baskets have been assisted on, according to Hoopdata. That number sat at 54.5 percent last season, 48.7 percent during the 2008-2009 season, and 47.9 percent during the 2007-2008 season.
Greg Oden Out Again
By now I'm sure you've heard about Greg Oden's most recent setback. The Portland Trailblazers' center will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee today and will miss the remainder of the season. He underwent the same procedure on his right knee back in 2007. Remember 2007? When Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were all the rage coming out of college? The Celtics drew the fifth selection in the draft that year, despite having the second worst record in the league the season before. The situation worked out in the Celtics' favor (clearly), but had the Celtics won the draft lottery that season, who would they have taken? Doc Rivers weighed in on that:
"Even though everybody changes now, we were all for Oden," said Rivers. "I think 98 percent of the league was, but now I hear it all over -- our staff, everywhere -- 'Oh no, we were Durant guys. I don't believe that. I think we would have drafted Oden."
I can't even fathom what the team would look like right now had Oden somehow made it to Boston and suffered the injuries he has thus far while with the Blazers (I'm not saying he would have suffered the same ones, but had he...Oh boy.). I wish him the best, though. No one, athlete or not, should have to suffer through those types of injuries.
More Villanueva Talk
Appearing on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show, Kevin Garnett commented further on being accused of calling Charlie Villauneva a "cancer patient" - by Villanueva himself, via Twitter - in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 109-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons on November 2. While maintaining that he's still done talking about "nobodies" (his most recent name for Villanueva) Garnett said:
"To sit here and make up pointless things just to get, what do you call it, followers -- I don't even know what Twitter is, Shaq had to break it down for me -- to get followers or to get people to hear you because you're not heard, well, there's a reason people don't hear you, there's a reason people don't follow you."
I love that line: I don't even know what Twitter is, Shaq had to break it down for me. The two really do work well off of one another. Shaq explains Twitter to KG, and KG explains Gino to Shaq. Ubuntu, baby. Let's make it 10-2 tonight.