Paul Pierce Trying His Best to Keep the Boston Celtics Afloat

Patrick Buscone@pbuscone10Senior Analyst IDecember 22, 2012

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after making a three-point shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on December 19, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Pierce finished the game with 40 points. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For the past two games, no player in the NBA has come close to playing as well as Paul Pierce. On the other hand, in those same two games, few teams have played as mediocre as the Boston Celtics.  

The past two games have gone like this:

Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Pierce filled the stat sheet to the tune of 40 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one block, three steals and 81.3 percent shooting from the field (including 6-of-7 from three and 8-of-8 from the line). And with a little help from Jason Terry and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics won a close game against the 5-22 Cavs (who were without the annoying, yet incredibly impactful Anderson Varejao).

Then, Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce continued to assert his dominance with 35 points, twelve rebounds, five assists, three steals and over 50 percent shooting.

With that, you would think the Celtics would be able to beat the Bucks, right?


Kevin Garnett was the only other starter in double figures with 12 points (on 6-of-22 shooting, mind you), while the other three starters combined for 12 points on 4-of-23 shooting. Based on my math, the Celtics starters, excluding Pierce, shot 10-of-45 from the field—equating to approximately 22.2 percent.

Unacceptable doesn't even begin to describe that performance. 

Keep in mind that the Celtics starting five features a former Sixth Man of the Year and three likely All-Stars. But if you watched this team for the first time last night, you would think that Pierce was the league MVP playing on a lottery team, just waiting for help.

This isn't 2007 again, is it?

When the Celtics brought in Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, they came with an unspoken promise that we would no longer have to see Pierce try to do everything in an effort to avoid watching the Celtics lose.

Yet, here we are.

It's five years later. And, at least for the past two games, Pierce has been Superman, while his teammates have been Kryptonite. 

Pierce will never say this out loud, but he must be disappointed in his teammates. How could he not be? 

As the team captain, Pierce is doing his job in leading the .500 Celtics and pushing them to be better. Unfortunately, the rest of the team has yet to start following him.

I'm not going to overreact completely, though. It's just not my style. If it were, I would have built an ark yesterday when it was raining on the supposed "end of the world."

In other words, yesterday wasn't the end of the world as we know it, nor the end of the world for the Celtics. 

It's only two games and the Celtics will have a few days off to think before they face the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day.

Also, this obviously comes with a negative and a positive. The negative we have covered at great length, but it essentially comes down to this: if the Celtics needed 40 points from Pierce to beat a bad team and 35 points wasn't enough to beat a mediocre team, then how can they expect to win when Pierce doesn't play like the league MVP?

The good news, though, is that Pierce can still do it. He can still carry the team with big scoring nights.

In just the month of December, he has had three games scoring over 30 points. With those performances, he may have guaranteed himself a spot in the All-Star game.

That is an incredibly encouraging sign for all Celtics fans. Because once the rest of the team starts to truly contribute, the Celtics could be a scary team. 

In the wise words of Harvey Dent, "the night is darkest just before the dawn." And like Dent, I promise all of you that the dawn is coming.

At some point, hopefully soon, Pierce will have a great game and the rest of the team will contribute as well. When that day comes, the Celtics can be considered contenders yet again.