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NEW YORK -- The 25,000-point club has its newest member: Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce.
Pierce became the 18th player in NBA history to score at least 25,000 career points in Friday night's 93-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center.
"I told him, 'Welcome to the neighborhood,' " said teammate Kevin Garnett, who is also a member of the exclusive club.
" 'Truth' has been a big part of this league. He's one of my great friends, best friends. We've had some accomplishments together, done some great things together, and tonight it was all about him. I'm happy for him."
Pierce, Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are the only four active players in the league to have reached the milestone.
"It's better to be in the championship club obviously," Pierce said when told of the comment from Garnett, with whom he won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008. "Statistical things, they come and go. There's gonna be players in the future that pass me up, but when you win, that lasts forever. It's great. I'm gonna enjoy being part of history. It's just a testament to my hard work and consistency over the years and good health."
Pierce came into Friday night's game just five points shy of reaching the mark. He knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:09 remaining in the second quarter to give him 25,001 career points. Pierce had started off 1 of 5 from the field before draining the milestone shot.
"It's hard not to [think about it]," said Pierce, who finished with 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting. "Everybody's talking about it. My family's here, my friends that's all they're talking about, and I was the same way when I reached the 20,000-point mark. I remember I couldn't hit a shot in the first quarter because I was pressing just to get it. I'm just glad it's over with and I can just focus on the rest of the season."
Pierce received a nice ovation from the home crowd after his accomplishment was recognized by the public address announcer.
The 36-year-old has averaged 21.3 points per game during his 16-year career. He spent the first 15 seasons with the Celtics, and currently ranks second on the franchise's all-time scoring list behind John Havlicek.
Pierce is averaging a career-low 13.5 points per game in his first season with the Nets.
But his contribution to the team goes far beyond his statistics, in the form of providing leadership, guarding bigger forwards and providing floor-spacing because of his ability to hit 3-pointers (38.2 percent this season).
"He's been big for us all year, being able to go from the 3 to the 4," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "We're asking him to guard bigger guys and offensively it's a big honor. I don't know if I've ever gotten that far, but 25,000 is a lot of points. I'm happy for him."