Paul Pierce named All-Star reserve
February, 9, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Celtics captain Paul Pierce earned his 10th All-Star nod Thursday night when he was the lone Boston player voted a reserve by Eastern Conference coaches.
Joining Pierce on the seven-man reserve squad are Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks), and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets). Last week, fan balloting led to Derrick Rose (Bulls), LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (Heat), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), and Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic) being named East starters.
"I'm always thankful for every opportunity when the coaches vote me in," said Pierce. "It's a tremendous honor."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers called it the "cherry on top" in a week that saw Pierce earn Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday then passed Larry Bird for No. 2 on the team's all-time scoring list on Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
"Going in front of Larry, to me, that was enough -- I don’t know if you need another thing in the week," joked Rivers.
Rivers did express disappointment that point guard Rajon Rondo did not get voted in, but acknowledged a two-week absence due to a right wrist injury made it difficult in a shortened season. Rivers wished the NBA had waited longer to determine the players for this year's game, which will be held in Orlando later this month.
"I guess the rest this year would be important, but overall it’s just a good achievement and you want them to be there," Rivers said of only having Pierce on the team. "I just think it’s too soon, personally. I thought, listen, I was sitting on my couch when they announced the starters [last Thursday] and I was floored. I didn’t know they started the voting. I’m serious, I honestly did not know the voting had started. I just think, we could have waited at least another week to do the subs. I just thought it was too early."
Rivers acknowledge Boston's own sluggish start didn't help his players.
"I thought that hurt a couple of our guys, especially," said Rivers. "Now we’re playing well. But again, the voting was so quick, if you missed five games or a week -- Rondo, to me, is an All-Star and would have made it. But you miss a week or two, all of a sudden it’s hard, you can’t make the team. That’s just the way it is."
Ray Allen said in the locker room before Thursday's game that if he was not voted a reserve, he would not participate in the 3-point shootout, preferring instead to use the time to rest his body.
"If I'm not going to play in the game, it's a great opportunity for me to take the whole week and just relax," said Allen. "It's better on my body and my mind."