Despite last night’s loss to Miami, it was a historic night in Boston. Jeff Green’s 43 point performance was the first time in a long time a member of the C’s not named Paul Pierce posted 40+ points in the regular season.
Now there are a couple exceptions to this rule, if you include the postseason, as Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen have each crossed that barrier in the past couple years (incredibly Boston lost both of those games to Miami and Chicago respectively). However, if we’re looking at the regular season, it’s been Pierce and no one else for quite awhile in Beantown.
In fact, Pierce has scored 40+ points 12 times in the regular season since the last time another teammate of his put together a 40 point effort. Those 12 performances have spanned across 12 years, as it was December 2001, just a couple years into Pierce’s NBA career that Boston’s captain witnessed such an offensive explosion.
So the question presents itself: Just who was the last player to do this for Boston not named Paul Pierce?
It was the one and only employee number 8. Antoine Walker was never shy about taking shots, so naturally he found a way to post four 40 point games over his career in Boston, the last of which came in December 2001.
The C’s were in a tough battle at Madison Square Garden, trailing by three with just seconds left in regulation. You can guess where Antoine was headed on this play (although the video quality may make it tough to see).
A few incredible things about this clip.
1) Antoine hit the three over Kurt Thomas, who led the Knicks to win last night at age 40 in Utah.
2) Walt Frazier actually brought up the fouling up 3 strategy, an incredible idea in 2001. Hilarously, Marv Albert dismisses it as something coaches rarely want to do. We’ve come a long way in 12 years.
3) Antoine’s final box score line. Let’s do a compare and contrast with Jeff’s from last night.
33 shots for Antoine! That’s the Walker I know and love! Plus Erick Strickland, Vitaly Potapenko, and Milt Palacio coming off the bench, what an All-Star crew that was. The Celtics won that game in overtime 102-94 by the way. Here’s Green’s much more efficient line from last night.
Our final lessons from this one.
1) Jeff Green’s 40 point nights are a lot prettier than Antoine’s
2) Pierce did not have a lot of good teammates early in his career. In fact, if you look back to 1996 for the Celtics, Pierce and Walker were the only players who scored 40+ during that period in the regular season prior to last night.
And just for fun, here’s some bonus footage of Antoine Walker’s career high 49 points against Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and the Washington Wizards. And yes, the Celtics lost this game too.