In case the game went a little too late for you last night, the Celtics took game one from the Lakers, 98 – 88. I want to blog about the turning point in this game. The Lakers had a 5 point halftime lead. Then, early in the third quarter, Paul Pierce of the Celtics went down holding his knee after a minor collision with his teammate. He stayed down, and eventually his teammates carried him off of the court, where a wheel chair wheeled him into the locker room. Suddenly, later in the quarter, Pierce emerges bouncing through the tunnel, and the Boston crowd goes nuts – heck, I even stood to me feet in my own living room. Pierce would soon hit back to back three pointers and the Celtics held the lead throughout the fourth quarter. (You can see the clip here.)
At the moment Pierce stepped out of that tunnel, it felt like sports history was being made – another moment to be added to the all time highlight reel of Willis Reed walking onto the court and Kirk Gibson hitting his homerun. But upon further review, maybe Pierce could have done some things to make his moment a little bit more immortal. For starters, he wouldn’t even try to stand up at first, leading us to believe this injury could have been really bad – but then he tries it in the locker room, and it appears everything is fine. Less than two minutes of basketball took place between Pierce’s injury and his re-entry into the game. When it comes down to it, this makes Pierce kinda look like a wimp.
Here’s what he should have done. I know and appreciate that he was anxious to get back on the court, but why not let another minute or two tick off before coming out, make people really wonder. Then, right before he emerges, he whispers to Danny Ainge behind him that he is faking what he is about to do. As he enters the arena, he starts walking with a noticeable limp and grimace, still doing that hoppy thing he did, but now he makes it look painful. As he approaches the bench, he tells Doc that he’s good to go, Doc doesn’t believe him but then Danny Ainge whispers to Doc that it’s all an act. Then when Pierce hits the court, it’s like he’s immune to all that pain, Celtics still win, Pierce’s moment becomes even more immortal.
What’s funny is that 24 hours ago, I was actually a little bit worried that this series wouldn’t live up to the hype or the history.