Paul Pierce screams after sinking the gamewinning jumper, a one-legged fadeaway over Al Horford.
On Monday night, Kevin Garnett said he loves to see Superman come out of the booth. Apparently, no one told Clark Kent, er, Paul Pierce to put his street clothes back on.
If you didn't get a big enough helping of Pierce on Monday night against the Raptors, the Captain added an extra dollop of his ice-water-in-the-veins fourth quarter heroics to his growing regular season MVP resume with a rainbow fadeaway game-winner over Al Horford to pull out a 103-102 win at the Garden Wednesday night.
In 45 minutes, Pierce finished with 34 points, and spent plenty of time at the free throw line, going 15-of-16 from the stripe. But the only shot anyone was talking about afterward was the last one of the game.
Down 102-101 after a Marvin Williams threeball and would-be gamewinner, the Celtics had just 7.4 seconds remaining and took a timeout to draw up the play. The C's have been one of the best teams in the league out of timeouts when it comes to scoring buckets, and it's something that Doc Rivers prides himself on.
So you had to think there was a good chance somebody would get a good look, even if the diagram was pretty simple.
Even though Garnett, who dropped 25 points and 12 rebounds of his own, would say afterward the play was "get the ball to Paul Pierce, get the hell out of the way" and added that "if you don't believe that ask Doc Rivers and he'll say the same exact thing," Pierce offered a bit more insight on the playbook.
"Once I went right I had the big guy on me, I sort of got to my sweet spot and I felt good the whole time. The play was to get the ball to Kevin and if they switched off, either hand-off or he would take the drive down the lane, but they switched and put Horford on me and I knew I could get to my spot," Pierce said, once again icing his hand for an injury that isn't exactly kryptonite. "I got to it and thank God it went in."
Leaving just 0.5 on the clock, Pierce's shot popped the Garden crowd, and the Truth went to the opposite sideline to share the moment with the courtsiders.
"It was a great shot by Paul. I told him,'average execution,' but it worked out for us," joked Rivers. "Overall I just thought [it's] a good win for us, and another win where we didn't play great but we're still winning games. And that, guys, is a good sign not a bad sign."
Another good sign: the Celtics remain unbeaten at home, and the win propelled the Celtics (8-1) into first place in the Eastern Conference. It also ended Atlanta's winning streak at six games, and once again left a bitter taste in the Hawks mouths.
"We did exactly what we wanted out of the time out," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We got the switch. He just hit a great shot over a 6'9" guy, Al Horford, who was hanging on him. Tip your hat to him. It was a great shot."
To that end, Pierce's teammates have gotten used to seeing him come up huge. While he hasn't hit a gamewinner since a December 6, 2006 win in New Jersey, his all around play has been superstar quality.
"Man, he's got a cape on his back sometimes," Eddie House said. "We've all been on his back; it's been the Paul Pierce show for the last two games in the fourth quarter. I'm glad he's on my team."