Updates from Monday, Mar. 10
Andy Vasquez of The Record has the latest on Paul Pierce:
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will both play tonight. Andrei Kirilenko is out.— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) March 10, 2014
Paul Pierce made it just 73 seconds into Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings, succumbing to a right shoulder injury.
The Brooklyn Nets star left after scoring on the first possession of the contest, and according to The New York Times' Zach Schonbrun, he won't return:
Paul Pierce has a right shoulder injury and will not return to the game, @BKN_NETSPR announces— Zach Schonbrun (@zschonbrun) March 9, 2014
Pierce, according to Newsday's Rod Boone, revealed a couple days ago he was dealing with a stinger in his shoulder and that it's an injury that has bothered him the last few years. We won't know about his status until after Sunday's game, but the fact he was ruled out so early likely makes him doubtful for Monday's contest against the Toronto Raptors.
That's not good news for the Nets, who are in sixth place in the East and chasing Toronto and Chicago for home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Pierce is averaging 13.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals on the year, and as Barclays Center reporter Lenn Robbins noted, he has been valuable in his ability to play power forward for the Nets, who lack depth in the frontcourt:
Paul Pierce has been the MVP of the second half of the season..gives away height and weight every night at the 4 #Nets— Lenn Robbins (@LennRobbins) March 9, 2014
“He’s always telling us how he can lock everybody up that tries to post him up,” Nets center Mason Plumlee added, via Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman. “He’s done that, pretty much.”
For as long as the 36-year-old veteran is sidelined, Andrei Kirilenko will play a much bigger role, while guys like Shaun Livingston and Marcus Thornton should also see an uptick in minutes on the perimeter.