He told us this after a 23-point (on 8-of-21 shooting) night in the series opener against the Bulls, a game he could have won for Boston had he knocked down a free throw with 2.5 seconds left. He told us again after an 18-point (on 8-of-19 shooting) performance in Game 2.
You know what? He was right.
Thursday night was vintage Paul Pierce, a three-point-bombing, lane-driving, All-NBA-type display that helped Boston hammer Chicago 107-86 (
Confidence issues? What confidence issues?
"He's pretty much the most confident guy in the league," Celtics point guard
Well, that's not entirely true. No question, Pierce is among the most dynamic scorers in the league. He has an explosive inside-out game and, when his jump shot is on, he can knock it down with an entire defense draped all over him. But he doesn't love the pressure that comes with being the focal point. Pierce's best years were 2001-03 (when
It's why you wondered if there really
Pierce insisted his confidence was fine. Celtics coach
Turns out, they were right.
"He played the perfect decoy but was aggressive at the same time," Rivers said. "I thought it was beautiful how he played."
That's also the kind of effort the Celtics will need from Pierce on Sunday, when the Bulls likely won't be nearly as bad (they shot just 37.5 percent from the field and had only two starters --
They will need another big game from Pierce. As he proved on Thursday, he still has that in him.
Midway through Thursday night's game, multiple reports were posted online that the NBA had increased the security on the Celtics' bench in response to threats made against Allen's life. SI.com confirmed that the reports were accurate. The Celtics had no comment. It is unclear what is behind the threats, though a source told SI.com that they do not have anything to do with the 2005 incident in which Allen was charged with assault for allegedly breaking a man's eye socket outside of a Chicago restaurant. Allen was acquitted of the charge in 2007.
Allen left the Celtics' locker room quickly after the game and didn't offer much when approached by three reporters.
"Is that what you want to write about?" Allen said. "That's what you want to write about?"
Now that was strange. It's no secret that Rondo has been bothered by a right ankle sprain after landing awkwardly in the second quarter of Game 2. But Rondo didn't look too worse for wear in a 20-point, 11-rebound, six-assist effort on Thursday. I was standing in the tunnel when forward
According to Rondo, he was just getting a lift from a teammate.
"I was limping and Billy didn't want to see my limp," said Rondo, with both ankles in a bucket of ice. "I didn't slip, my ankles are fine."
I don't think so. Despite a packed house that was extra amped after watching
"Everybody had an off night, including myself," said
For that to happen, the Bulls need much better play from Rose, who, after an electrifying Game 1, has looked mediocre in Games 2 and 3.
"Derrick just has to be a little more aggressive," Bulls coach