Sunday, February 14, 2010
On the Money
By Chris Forsberg
After his 3-point contest victory, Pierce suggested he was one of the best shooters in NBA history.
DALLAS -- It might not have been Larry Bird bursting into the locker room before the NBA's inaugural 3-point Shootout and asking his competition who planned on finishing second, but Celtics captain Paul Pierce arrived in Dallas with plenty of swagger for this year's event.
Twenty-four years and little more than a mile removed from where Bird's exploits unfolded at Reunion Arena, Pierce playfully trash-talked his competition, then anointed himself one of the greatest shooters in NBA history after edging Stephen Curry and Chauncey Billups to win the 2010 3-point Shootout at the American Airlines Center.
"This is where he won it?" Pierce asked when informed of the ties between him and Bird. "Wow. They say history always repeats itself and it did tonight. The stars were lined up."
With the stars lined up in the audience, Pierce put his newfound 3-point talents -- he's shooting a career-best 44.8 percent from beyond the arc this season, up nearly 5 percent from last year -- on full display by topping some of the game's top long-distance shooters.
His bravado took center stage as he accepted the champion's trophy at midcourt. In an interview broadcast on television and throughout the arena, Pierce suggested he was one of the best shooters in NBA history, drawing an audible groan from the crowd.
But he didn't back down from the statement.
"I would say I'm one of the best -- I've always said this and I tell this to the guys on my team," said Pierce. "I've always been known as a pure scorer, and I've always said if I just sat outside and shot 3's, and just really focused on that -- coming off of screens and spot up 3's -- and shot six or seven 3's a game, I would probably be more known as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history."