We all know that the Celtics’ tremendous lack of rebounding has been among the worst of the last decade and has been dominating the headlines in Boston. The 19-rebound differential in Saturday night’s game in Denver was the Nuggets’ best of the season and it tied the Celtics’ second worst. However, most people are ignoring what Celtics captain Paul Pierce did on Saturday.
He fouled out – He fouled out with 3:51 left in the 4th Quarter. How often does that happen to “The Truth”? The last time Pierce fouled out that early in a regular season game was December 1, 2003 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. This was with 3:58 left in the 4th Quarter that night at the FleetCenter. He was called for a reach in foul on Mike Miller, who had the ball at the three-point line. The Celtics went on to lose that game, 96-89.
In addition, Boston also lost the earliest time Pierce fouled out of a game, regular season or playoffs, in the last decade. It was a first round game of the 2008 Playoffs vs. the Atlanta Hawks. On May 2, 2008, in Game 6, Pierce committed his 6th foul with 4:43 left on an away-from-the-ball foul on Zaza Pachulia. That 103-100 Celtics loss at Philips Arena pushed the first New Big 3 Era season to the brink, but fortunately there was a happy ending.
Most importantly, Pierce has fouled out only 5 times in 426 (1.2%) combined regular season and playoff games played with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett on the roster. Moreover, The Truth now has fouled out just twice in his 353 (0.6%) regular season games in the New Big 3 Era. Compare either of those statistics to his foul out rate before the New Big 3 Era and one sees a large difference. Pierce fouled out 19 times in 652 (2.9%) regular season games from his rookie year, 1998-99, to 2006-07.
One more oddity of Pierce fouling out against the Nuggets was that it was not the first time that he had fouled out in Denver. Nor was it the second time. Not only was it the third time Pierce has fouled out against the Nuggets, but it was also the third time at the Pepsi Center. This represents the most times Pierce has fouled out against a specific team and the most times Pierce has fouled out at any one arena. It is beneficial for Pierce and the Celtics that they do not face the Nuggets again during the regular season, so there is one bright spot coming out of the Celtics’ second consecutive road loss in as many nights.