A tired Paul Pierce showed again why he is such a great player in last night's Game Five of the Boston-Chicago first-round NBA Playoff matchup.
He seemingly limped through three and a half quarters, but when the time came to put up or shut up, he simply plugged in 12 of his 26 points to quash the Bulls' efforts to topple the Celtics' reign.
All who watched must have marveled at his courage on the court and the inspiration he gave his teammates and the spectators. Indeed, great players do great things.
At the same, time, we certainly admit that Celtic coach Doc Rivers had a great impact on his players. They responded to his call to stick in there when they were down 11 points in the fourth quarter. Yes, coaches and managers do help to win games.
But despite the excitement of the C's pivotal postseason contest, I must admit, we flipped back and forth during the evening between that and the Red Sox trying to keep their 11-game winning streak alive against Cleveland.
Too bad Red Sox manager Terry Francona made another bonehead mistake in the third inning, or the Boston teams might have gone two-for-two.
Francona kept his inept pitcher, Brad Penny, in the game in the third. At the time, the Sox were winning by a score of 7-3 (it was only the third, mind you) and coasting along with some great hitting, but Penny was struggling.
What should a good manager do with a strong bullpen than had allowed only five runs in over 30 innings?
Right, keep Penny in there so he gets beat up. Brad promptly showed his manager how he could tie up the game at 7-7 by giving up four more runs.
See, coaching does make a difference. Rivers inspired Pierce to lead the Celts to victory, and Francona, by leaving Penny in the game, inspired no one and gave his team reason to fall.
Francona, you get the bonehead award!