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Sunday, January 17, 2010
Pierce eyes 3-point redemption

By Chris Forsberg

Asked a couple weeks back about which teammate -- Ray Allen or Eddie House -- he would nominate for the 3-point shootout at this year's All-Star weekend in Dallas, Paul Pierce pondered a moment and, appropriately for a captain, chose option C.

"We've been talking about this, and I'm trying to nominate myself," said Pierce. "I think I'm shooting a pretty good percentage from [3-point land]. But between those two? They're right up under me."

On Saturday, the Celtics held an intrasquad 3-point shooting challenge featuring Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Pierce, and House. Despite matching each other shot for shot in the finals, House edged Pierce in overtime. That didn't stop Pierce from continuing his campaigning to be a part of the contest next month.

"I think I have a good chance," said Pierce. "I've really put in the time -- I've been doing a lot of shooting, more so than in the past, and I want to redeem myself for 2002 when I only made [eight] shots. I was embarrassing the franchise."

Pierce and Steve Smith tied for the lowest first-round total that year (by comparison, Wesley Person topped the first round making 21 shots, while Ray Allen netted 14 and didn't advance). Peja Stojakovic prevailed that year.

The Celtics haven't had a strong showing in the 3-point contest since Larry Bird dominated, with Antoine Walker doing even worse than Pierce the following year with seven first-round makes in 2003.

Pierce said he thought it was up to the NBA to decide who gets in, but noted, "percentage-wise, I'm one of the top 3-point shooters in the league. Hopefully I get a chance."

The fact that Pierce is likely to earn a trip to Dallas to compete in Sunday's game should only strengthen his chances. Pierce currently sits third in the NBA at 46.7 percent and is second in the Eastern Confernece to only Cleveland's Daniel Gibson, though Pierce has made 23 more 3-pointers this season.

By comparison, House is shooting only 37.1 percent this year, but the Celtics have helped take his campaign viral in a series of YouTube spots that showcase House's talents from beyond the arc (our favorite is embedded below). House's triumph in Saturday's team competition is sure to only add fuel to his "Get me to Dallas" fire.