Follow the captain's lead
October, 17, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- After the Celtics limped through a dismal outing Monday night in Philadelphia, Celtics captain Paul Pierce entered Tuesday's visit from Brooklyn determined to ramp up his preseason play with hopes his teammates would follow.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/GettyCeltics captain Paul Pierce at work vs. Brooklyn.
Pierce put up a preseason-high 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting (6 of 8 beyond the 3-point arc) with five rebounds, two blocks, and a steal. Even though the starter-less Nets rallied to escaped with a 97-96 triumph, Pierce's inspired play has the Celtics moving in the right direction after the speed bump against the 76ers.
"It’s at the point right now, halfway through the preseason, two weeks left before the first game, I was just trying to establish a rhythm -- how I’m going to play the rest of the year," said Pierce. "No matter who they put out there tonight I was going to try to be aggressive and I think I was. I was really disappointed with the way I was playing the last couple games, so I really wanted to start picking it up."
The Celtics have mixed and matched players, including multiple starting lineups, and Pierce admitted he's stil getting used to the new personnel. But he put an emphasis on being aggressive and hoped everyone else would follow.
"It’s a combination of being aggressive, learning my teammates, learning a new offense also, and understanding where shots will come from," said Pierce. "But you know when I’m aggressive like that, when I’m taking the lead, everyone else follows and I think it’s pretty contagious."
Pierce got hot in the third quarter and helped Boston build as much as a 12-point lead before the third-teamers fumbled it away in the final minutes. Veteran newcomer Jason Terry fed off the energy Pierce brought to the floor -- and the arena with his 3-point barrage.
"It was great to see because, obviously, when somebody gets it going like that, the fans just get involved, and that's my time there," said Terry. "I love that. It was great to feel. It's my first time in the arena. I told [Kevin Garnett] earlier, I said, 'Don't leave me. I mean, you walked ahead of me and walked off. I don't know where I'm going.' I think I ended up in the visitor's locker room. It was good to be out in the arena for the first time, and to see Paul get it going is great. It's a sign of good things to come."