NBA Playoffs 2012: Why Paul Pierce Will Determine Boston's Fate in Game 7
Pierce is Boston's go-to scorer down the stretch and its most reliable perimeter option. With Ray Allen hobbling on a nightly basis and looking generally old, Pierce's responsibility ramps up further.
The failure to perform in two huge Celtic contests is extremely uncharacteristic of Pierce. He is a notorious clutch performer with a penchant for big shots.
Boston managed to win one game in Pierce's meager two-game stretch. They won't win another if he doesn't find his groove in the Eastern Conference finals' final stanza.
Let's take a look at what Pierce must do in Game 7, and why he will be Boston's most important player Saturday night.
What Does He Have To Do?
In basic terms, Pierce must find a way to score the basketball. Expanding on that idea would include scoring timely, and efficient, buckets.
Boston needs Pierce to control the Celtics' perimeter offense. He is a handful for either LeBron James or Shane Battier to handle when he is playing well.
Who will decide Boston's fate in Game 7?
Pierce needs to shoot early and often in Saturday's contest. Boston will not win without a big offensive night from its reliable veteran, so he has to at least look for his shot.
He's shot seven free throws total between the last two tilts. Generally, he makes consistent trips to the line and makes at least five easy ones a night.
Pierce must attack the basket, get to the line and use that to bolster his confidence in this series' ultimate game. Once free throws start falling, Pierce's shot will feel a lot better.
Battier and James are stingy defenders, but Pierce has faced their kind before. He knows what he needs to do. Now, he just has to make it happen.
Why Pierce is Boston's Most Important Piece
Pierce is Boston's only hope of matching Miami's perimeter firepower.
The Celtics held an obvious advantage in the paint prior to Game 5, but Kevin Garnett has a worthy nemesis with Chris Bosh back in Miami's mix.
That means Pierce must pick up the slack. He must neutralize James and Dwyane Wade's perimeter scoring as much as possible.
He isn't going to outscore James, and he may not outscore Wade either. But he is the only hope Boston has at playing with some semblance of balance on the offensive end.
Without his consistent marksmanship, Rondo is left to probe the defense until Garnett frees himself up underneath. This is a fine tactic, but it requires maximum effort when the Celtics are trying to keep up with Miami's blistering offense.
Pierce's stocky stature and crafty skill set also provide mismatches. He is less athletic than James, but he knows how to position himself down low. He is a very dangerous low-post player despite playing primarily in the backcourt.
Boston needs Pierce to bring his A-game to Saturday night's deciding duel. He needs to make perimeter shots, open up space in the lane and, of course, deliver a few coldblooded shots down the stretch.
If Pierce is in top form, Boston has a real chance at advancing to play the Thunder. If he is anything less than himself, the Celtics will be sent packing.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?