- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Celtics captain Paul Pierce leapfrogged Larry Bird to move into second place on the franchise's all-time scoring list during Tuesday night's tilt with the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.
After looking like he was pressing a bit in the first half, Pierce buried a 3-pointer from the right wing with 10:23 to go in the third quarter to move past Bird. Play continued as the crowd serenaded Pierce with a long ovation, which continued as Jermaine O'Neal committed a shooting foul (and got tagged with a technical as well).
AP Photo, Getty Images
Larry Bird got leapfrogged by Paul Pierce on the Celtics' all-time scoring list Tuesday.Pierce acknowledged the crowd, raising his arms numerous times, then signaled for the crowd to get louder while standing at halfcourt as the Bobcats shot their three free throws.
Finally, during the first full timeout following the milestone, Pierce was honored on the JumboTron with a video tribute and went to halfcourt to take a bow as the crowd roared again.
"Whenever you pass anybody in Boston, that means you’re old, No. 1," Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked before the game. "That’s the only way you can get there. You’ve had to play a long time because the history of this franchise and the numbers that are amassed. It’s just amazing -- his longevity and he’s been relatively injury free. He’s been so consistent throughout his career.
"Passing Larry Bird in anything is pretty impressive."
Pierce, who entered the game nine points shy of Bird's mark, got his first bucket of the game on a layup with less than three minutes to go in the first quarter, then added an and-1 drive later in the frame. Pierce produced a jumper midway through the second quarter, but simply couldn't get the record before intermission. He missed seven shots in the first half (3-of-10, 7 points), including all five attempts from beyond the arc.
Bird registered 21,791 points during his career. Pierce now sits 28th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (33rd if you include ABA scoring). He will soon leapfrog another former Celtic in Gary Payton (21,813) and is on the heels of San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (22,009) with eyes on the top 25.
Big Three brethren Ray Allen (24th) and Kevin Garnett (19th) are already in that club, as are Celtics legends Robert Parish (23,334 -- 18,245 of which came in Boston) and John Havlicek (26,395). The 34-year-old Pierce likely would need to maintain a high level of play for at least three more seasons beyond this one to have a chance at catching Hondo for the top spot on the Celtics’ all-time list.
[Hop HERE to read the full postgame story on Pierce's accomplishment].