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Paul Pierce Versus The World

By 05.17.08
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONPaul Pierce

Explain this one to us: With all the talent that has been brought in to support him, why is Paul Pierce still going 1-on-5 on seemingly every Celtics’ crunch-time possession, especially in a game where he’s not shooting well? Playing another one of their Mr. Hyde road games, Pierce (16 pts, 5-for-15 FG’s, 6 turnovers) and the Celtics couldn’t even crack 70 on the scoreboard last night, as the Big Three combined for 12 in the fourth quarter (4 points apiece). One of Boston’s last good chances ended when, down by five in the final minute, Pierce ignored everyone else and tried to go all Adrian Peterson on LeBron. As both guys flopped on contact, Pierce was called for charging … Boston looked pretty good for most of the first half, but Cleveland went on a 17-2 run to steal the lead, then Delonte West hit a buzzer-beater from 25 feet to stretch the lead to nine at the break. Asked to explain what happened during the run, one of the Dime crew’s die-hard Celtics fans (“The Jed” to DimeMag.com readers) e-mailed simply, “Us s***. Them good.” … LeBron only made a couple of shots in the first half, but came out in the third quarter and hit his first two attempts — a three and a floater — to spark another Cavs’ outburst. They were threatening to make it a 20-piecing when the C’s battled back with a 13-0 run to cut the lead to three, but then LeBron got the tough buckets when he had to (8 points in the fourth quarter) and didn’t let Boston get too close. He ended up with 32 points, 12 boards and 6 dimes, one of only two Cavs to hit double figures … Funny sequence in the second half: Delonte was guarding Rajon Rondo when Kendrick Perkins flattened him on a blind-side pick. But when Rondo’s ensuing shot got rejected by Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron took off a fast break, Delonte got some get-back by cracking Rondo on a blind-side pick. Except Rondo’s dive got the attention of the ref, and Delonte got whistled for the foul. It’s always the second guy to throw a punch who gets caught, isn’t it? … Doc Rivers did some juggling with the C’s rotation. Sam Cassell and Leon Powe were out (Sam wasn’t too happy about it), and Eddie House and Big Baby were in. Well, Big Baby was in until he racked up four fouls in his first eight minutes of work. Those are Mike Sweetney-type numbers. Cassell never got off the bench, but he did make his TV appearance memorable in the final seconds when he could clearly be seen screaming, “F*** that! That was a bad muthaf****** call!” … Wally Szczerbiak has been torturing the Cleveland fans. Yesterday he kept getting wide-open looks at what would have been backbreaking threes, and the fans would get so excited as Wally let it fly, only to suffer letdown after letdown as he bricked shot after shot. Eventually Mike Brown started giving Sasha Pavlovic Wally’s minutes, but he wasn’t really producing either. So Wally (9 pts, 2-for-11 FG’s) was back on the floor in the end-stages of the game, and finally knocked down a big three with two minutes left that put the Cavs up by nine … You know how everyone said the Celtics did their pre-game pyro in Boston just to mess with Ben Wallace and Delonte? Well, last night the Cavs had their own pyro, and with Big Ben hanging back in the locker room, it ended up being really weird. When the PA guy announced the starters, he screamed out Wallace’s name, but since he wasn’t on the court, a backstage camera was used to show Ben in the locker room mugging for the crowd. Was it so crucial to include pyro in the presentation that it was worth not having the whole team participate? … Apparently the Cavs have someone who keeps a little container in his pocket for LeBron’s mouthpiece when LeBron is on the bench. Guess that’s better than ‘Bron sticking the mouthpiece in his headband and having it taste like Murray’s Pomade … In between the Cavs/Celtics and Lakers/Jazz games, you had to wonder: With the way ESPN’s Doris Burke was leading the LeBron Fan Club in the first game — one time she almost popped a forehead vein because ‘Bron called a timeout — how would Mike Tirico measure up with his Kobe-love in the nightcap? … Turns out Tirico certainly had plenty of material. The Lakers jumped on the Jazz early, playing almost flawless basketball and taking a 19-point lead going into halftime. Killer first-half sequence for the Jazz: Already down 12, C.J. Miles fouled Derek Fisher on a breakaway, but not hard enough to prevent Fish from getting a continuation and-one (even though Fisher took a good three steps without dribbling). On the next possession Andrei Kirilenko missed a dunk, sparking a fast break where Fisher hit Kobe with a no-look dime and Kobe finished with a two-hand double-clutch dunk. Spirits were broken after that one … In the second half it looked like L.A. was about to run away with it. Utah was playing man-to-man with no double teams, and Pau Gasol (17 pts, 13 rebs, 4 blks), Lamar Odom (13 pts, 9 rebs) and even Vladimir Radmanovic (12 pts) were just taking turns posting up smaller defenders and scoring. Kobe (34 pts) didn’t even have to do anything … The Lakers were up by 17 in the fourth quarter when the Jazz made one last run to save their season. All of a sudden guys were flying all over the place, actually making their shots, and eventually an AK-47 triple cut L.A.’s lead down to three with 25 seconds left. Rather than foul Kobe (who must shoot something like 98 percent at the line in the final minute of games), they trapped him and made him give it up to Odom (almost a lock to brick at least half his freebies in crunch time). But Odom made both his shots, AK hit another three, Kobe hit two more free throws, Paul Millsap got a dunk, and Fisher split a pair. So the Jazz had one last chance to tie it up with 15 seconds left. Mehmet Okur short-armed a three, Deron Williams (21 pts, 14 asts) missed one, and that was it … Didn’t Hubie Brown coach Pau Gasol for at least two years? How does he not know how to say his name correctly? He kept calling him “Gah-sal.” … Watching some of WWE Smackdown last night we saw a wrestler named Vladimir Kozlov, whose gimmick is that he’s a cold, unfeeling brute from Russia. The guy’s entrance is amazing: no light shows, no video, no music — they don’t even announce his name. He just walks out in silence, destroys his opponent, does some Ivan Drago grunts and goes backstage in silence. He’s like the Tim Duncan of the WWE … Yesterday we asked our DimeMag.com readers, “Who do you hate?” Some great answers came through, like this one from a man who goes by the name Steve Nash: “I hate Robert Horry. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I don’t even know you, but I hate you. I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and only to you, and I’m gonna give David West some cake to crack your ass in New Orleans if he can walk, ’cause I hear all this s*** about him being a boxer, so I’m setting him on you, Lil’ Shot Bobby. I’m gonna go polish my two MVP’s now. It’s all I’m ever gonna win. And screw Rob Horry. Dude is like a jalapeno pepper enema all by himself.” Read the rest of the responses HERE … We’re out like the Jazz …


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