Notebook: Pierce Earns Nod as All-Star Reserve

Paul Pierce doesn't have a problem with Houston. He found out Thursday morning that he's headed there next weekend to represent the Celtics in 2005-2006 All-Star Game.

He'll be the Celtics lone official representative for the weekend, and he's excited about getting the nod from NBA coaches, who vote on the seven reserves from each conference who are selected to play in the game.

"Any chance you get to participate against the best players in the NBA, it's always an honor," said Pierce after practice in Waltham Thursday. "This is my fifth one in a row, and it seems like I get better each and every year."

With his fifth All-Star bid, Pierce joins an impressive list of five-time Celtics All-Stars. He joins Bob Cousy (13), John Havlicek (13), Larry Bird (12), Bill Russell (12), Robert Parish (9), Bill Sharman (8), Dave Cowens (7), Kevin McHale (7), JoJo White (7), Tommy Heinsohn (6), Ed Macauley (6), and Sam Jones (5) all were selected to the game five times or more. And they all have their numbers retired, something Pierce aspires to as well.

Pierce, of course, always enjoys being surrounded by greatness, an often overlooked privilege of participating in All-Star weekend.

"It's a lot of fun. You get to sit in the locker room with the best players in the league, and you really don't get that opportunity during the season," said Pierce. "You get a whole weekend to go out with them, spend some time with them, rub elbows and talk about the year and what's going on in their life."

As for Pierce's life, 2005-2006 has been a tough season. He's had to endure the ups and downs that come with being the veteran leader of a very young team. He's seen the roster turn over significantly since the start of the season after a blockbuster trade, and most recently, he's watched two of the team's young studs fall to injuries.

But through it all, though, Pierce has been a rock for the Celtics. And his resolve and leadership have translated into a career-best season and his fifth All-Star berth. Yet despite leading the Celtics in points, rebounds and assists, Pierce isn't satisfied with simply posting impressive numbers. In fact, regardless of what the numbers say, Pierce isn't convinced that this is his best season.

"You know, it's hard to say. Statistically you could say that, but I've had my best year when we went to the Eastern Conference Finals," said Pierce. "I think it's more satisfying when you're playing well and the team is doing well."

Pierce was considered on the bubble mostly because of the team's disappointing first half of the season, and he wasn't sure that he'd even get a selection despite his gaudy numbers.

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