Thursday, February 4, 2010
Pierce invited to NBA 3-point Shootout
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics captain Paul Pierce has been invited to participate in the NBA's 3-point Shootout during All-Star weekend in Dallas later this month, he confirmed to reporters after the Celtics' practice Thursday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint.
Pierce, who is third in the league in 3-point percentage (46.7 percent, 77 of 165 overall), had been hoping for a chance to redeem himself after a poor performance in his only other showing in 2002. It is unclear whether a recent foot injury will prevent Pierce from competing in the 3-point shootout on Feb. 13 at Cowboys Stadium, or in the All-Star game the following day. But Pierce joked he'd like to at least participate in the 3-point contest.
"If I don't do anything else, I plan on doing that," said Pierce. "I'll be fine. I'm excited to have the opportunity to be that. It's a great part of All-Star weekend and I have so many memories of Larry Bird winning the contest years ago, and Ray Allen winning the contest.
Pierce then got playful with the contest.
"I think it's fun and being one of the great shooters int he NBA, I deserve to be in it."
Then Pierce got downright Bird-like saying he's going to win the competition, even though he doesn't even know the other entrants. Asked who would finish second -- a question Bird famously asked the other competitors before the first-ever event -- Pierce kept the jabs coming.
"Second place? Man, I don't know who's in it," he said. "I'm just focused on me winning it this year."
Piece finished tied for last place in 2002, sinking a mere eight shots in the opening round. He's eager for redemption.
"I didn't practice, man. I was out all the night before, too," said Pierce. "My younger days, I didn't get no sleep that weekend. It was first All-Star game. This time, I plan on getting some rest and I plan on practicing for it. And I plan on going out and winning it."
The Celtics haven't had a strong showing in the 3-point contest since Bird dominated the early years of the event, with Antoine Walker doing even worse than Pierce in 2003 with only seven first-round makes.
Eddie House, who had lobbied for inclusion this year with a series of YouTube videos, did not get invited to participate, though it will be interesting to see if he draws consideration should Pierce be unable to attend due to injury.
For now, Pierce plans to be there. Get the trophy ready.