Paul Pierce is known more for his shooting than his rebounding, but the Celtics captain can crash the boards with the best of them, and has been especially productive of late. ESPN's Brian Robb writes about Pierce the rebounder in his True Hoop blog. Here's an excerpt:
The underlying truth about The Truth is that he’s always been a good rebounder, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game over the course of his career, an impressive number for any small forward.
“I felt like in every big game you can count on him for 10 rebounds, no matter who you are playing, or their size,” former Celtics assistant coach and current Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau says of Pierce. “He’s never been afraid to stick his nose in and he’ll scrap with everybody.”
Despite reliable output over the past 15 seasons, a decline on the glass would be expected at this juncture of any player’s career. Scrapping for boards is a brutal assignment for any player, let alone a 6-7 35-year-old, playing through a pinched nerve in his neck, who was called “unathletic” even before logging almost 45,000 NBA minutes.
And yet this is the season Pierce is posting the best rebounding numbers of his career, amazingly grabbing a higher percentage of his team’s defensive rebounds than bigger, stronger, quicker and younger players like Marc Gasol, Nikola Pekovic, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee, Pau Gasol, David West and Carmelo Anthony.
Pierce has grabbed more rebounds per 36 minutes played this year (6.8) than any other season in his entire career, a startling feat that seems to defy the laws of NBA aging.
So what’s been the difference this year for Pierce? It’s simple really: This year, it's what the C's need.
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