Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce passed Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing for 18th on the NBA's all-time scoring list during Saturday night's game against the Washington Wizards, per the website The Brooklyn Game:
With 24,817 points, Paul Pierce has passed Patrick Ewing on the all-time NBA scoring list, the 18th-most of all time.
With 24,817 points, Paul Pierce has passed Patrick Ewing on the all-time NBA scoring list, the 18th-most of all time.— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) March 16, 2014
Pierce came into Saturday just 11 points behind the legendary New York Knicks big man. He tied Ewing with a three-pointer to start the third quarter and surpassed him with a free throw at the 2:57 mark.
This is Pierce's first season with the Nets, who acquired both him and Kevin Garnett in a stunning summer trade with the rebuilding Boston Celtics. Prior to the trade, Pierce had spent all of his 15-year career in Boston, culminating in an NBA championship in 2008. Pierce's Celtics also reached the 2010 NBA Finals before falling in Game 7 to that eternal Boston nemesis, the Los Angeles Lakers.
When the two former Celtics returned to Boston in January, Garnett recalled the toughness shown by Pierce during their championship run, per the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy: "I can remember Paul playing through the flu in Cleveland. He was throwing up and everybody saw he had to take like two or three IVs and he played."
It says something about Pierce's overall legacy that he ranks second all-time in total points for the league's winningest franchise.
Next up on the list for Pierce, at No. 17 all-time, is The Logo himself, Jerry West. Pierce ended Saturday's game at 24,819 career points, leaving him 373 shy of the former Laker. Given the small number of games remaining, it is unlikely he will get there this season.
If both he and Garnett return, Pierce might even have a chance of passing his longtime teammate, who currently sits at No. 15 all-time. Garnett has been reduced to a minimal offensive role with Brooklyn, averaging a career-low 6.7 points per game.
Pierce, meanwhile, has averaged 13.5 points this season, over twice as many as Garnett.
No matter what Pierce decides to do in the offseason, his legacy is secure; his amazing career has all but guaranteed him a place in Springfield, regardless of when he chooses to hang up his sneakers.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.