Our Celtics took care of their biz in Europe on Sunday night, dropping Emporio Armani like a bad habit. There was plenty to like in the performance of rookie Jared Sullinger, who continues to look the part of Draft Day Steal. But it was also good to see a certain old dog looking rather spry in his old age. Paul Pierce played this game with a little bounce in his step, a little swizzle in his sizzle. That’s a good sign. Clearly, Pierce looks healthy and relatively pain-free at this point in the season. How long that continues is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that Pierce is also feeling good about the additions made by Danny Ainge this offseason.
A reconstituted lineup will do that for you. I’m excited by the way Pierce is moving on the court – he just looks sharper than he did at the end of last season, and in many ways it’s both a mental and physical refresh / reboot that has our captain looking good. Pierce was the first to admit that the knee injury suffered during last season’s playoff run nagged at him mentally. Everyone knows what that’s like; when you’re hurt and not feeling 100% it’s hard to focus on the task at hand. That was Pierce’s delimma.
But not anymore. The knee looks good, and Pierce looks like the weight of the world has dropped from his shoulders.
The challenge for Doc Rivers will be making sure that Pierce doesn’t get too frisky during the preseason. We don’t need him running hard to the rack and trying to jam the ball through the hole in traffic. That scenario unfolded tonight, and Pierce went to the floor. Sure, he bounced right up with a smile on his face, but Celtics fans everywhere held their collective breaths.
At any rate, I’m thrilled to see our boy PP doing what he does best so early in the quest for Banner 18. Pierce may be old, but he’s still a key cog in any championship aspirations this team has at the moment. Lose him to a freak injury, and the fun gets sucked out of the room in a hurry.
My advice to Pierce?
Stay thirsty, my friend – just make sure that you quench that thirst when the games really count.