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Critics be damned: An Ode to Paul Pierce

I feel like I’ve spent the last 10 years defending Paul Pierce in arguments with Celtics fans and non-Celtics fans. His sins, according to fans of other teams, include: selfishness, poor shot selection, an awkward game prone to turnovers and bouts of falling down, and, of course, the ridiculous notion that he faked a knee injury in Game 1 of the Finals last year — an argument so silly I never even bother with a rebuttal.

There are also a surprising number of C’s fans who have never forgiven Pierce for a few bad incidents that are, frankly, inevitable when you spend 10 years playing on a team that ranges from awful to mediocre for most of them.

These fans were permanently turned off by his ejection from Game 6 of the Pacers series in 2005 and the infamous gang sign incidents. These fans are happy to take his occasional 20-point fourth quarter, but they much prefer KG (ignoring his often out of line trash talk, of course) or the quiet, inoffensive Ray Allen.

To each his own, I guess. I’m a Pierce guy, and I’m tired of defending him. Luckily, Kelly Dwyer at BDL has done it for me in a few wonderful lines from his recap of last night’s comeback win at Dallas, keyed (of course) by an 18-point fourth quarter and a jumper-draw offensive foul on Dirk-jumper sequence that won the game. (Shades of Jordan’s score-steal-score in the 1998 Finals?). I may just print out copies of this and hand it out at bars:

“He didn’t do a damn thing in that fourth quarter that should have surprised us at all, but it’s still worth the standing O. He’s been working that magic for years, on teams hoping to make the playoffs, on teams hoping for a ring, or on teams desperate to get to 30 wins. Always coming through, either keeping it close, or putting it away. Laugh at the wheelchair and rip him for moping at times (like, all of 2003-04), but the man is just a stone cold winner.”

Yup. That’s about right.