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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
C's dust off the swagger

By Chris Forsberg

ORLANDO -- Floored by a forearm shiver from Dwight Howard while trying to complete a second-quarter layup around the basket, Celtics captain Paul Pierce needed a pit stop with team trainer Ed Lacerte before shooting the free throws that came with the flagrant 1 foul assessed.

Pierce, his headband askew, stood facing the crowd and endured their venom as Lacerte attended to the area around his left eye. Pierce just nodded solemnly and glared back at the blue-and-white-clad fans behind the Boston bench.

A vengeful Pierce responded by pouring in a team-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting with five rebounds and five assists over 40 minutes. He spent the final 31 seconds of the game on the bench, but sprang off in celebration when Jameer Nelson's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off target, giving the Celtics a 95-92 triumph in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Walking off the court, a fired-up Pierce stared back into the crowd and announced to the dejected masses, "See y'all next year." He then turned toward his teammates and added, "Two more now, let's be greedy."

Forget "Ubuntu," Boston has got its swagger back. And that may be far more important in deciding if the Celtics are ultimately able to win a world title than any humanist philosophy aimed at promoting team unity.

These Celtics aren't exactly the feel-good type. Boston wants to beat you up and then they're going to take your lunch money, too.

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