BOSTON -- Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce endured an alarmingly quiet offensive performance during Wednesday's 98-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden, leading coach Doc Rivers to wonder if he didn't get Pierce involved in the offensive early enough.
"I don’t know; I mean, I’ll find that out," Rivers said when asked if there was anything wrong with Pierce. "I won’t disagree with [the fact that he started slow]. Listen, some of it was that he wasn’t really involved and I think you’ve got to get your scorers involved early. But I don’t know. We’ll figure that out.”
Pierce's first-quarter stat line was pretty staggering: All zeroes despite a 6-minute, 12-second stint to start the game. It's one thing for Pierce not to get his shot, it's another to not grab a rebound or hand out an assist or anything else to dent the box score.
Pierce didn't put up his first shot of the game until the first minute of the second quarter (missing a 19-foot step-back jumper). He missed four of the five shots he put up in the frame, but did chip in four assists while playing the entire quarter.
But Pierce simply never looked comfortable on the court and again was virtually invisible in the box score over a seven-minute stint at the start of the second half (only an assist and blocked shot broke up his otherwise 0-filled stat line for the third quarter). Pierce was a mere 1-of-5 for two points entering the final frame.
He finished with 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting with five assists, two blocks, and a rebound over 37:17. Pierce said the game plan dictated the offense going through Rondo, who was aggressive against a sagging defense.
“We played a lot of pick-and-roll," said Pierce. "Rondo got the hot hand and took the shots that were there when they sagged off of him, when the shots were there he took them. We went to him in the post a lot and it caused a lot of isolation. That was the game plan.”
Rivers said the Pistons were trapping whenever Pierce or Ray Allen touched the ball, making it difficult for them to operate, while challenging Rondo to beat them with his jumper. When Rondo's shot cooled in the fourth quarter, the Pistons were able to pull away as it might have simply been too late to get Pierce heated up.