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With Paul Pierce, How Can You NOT Be Entertained?


The Gladiator references never get old when using them to describe the existence and glory that is Paul Pierce in a Washington uniform.

For that is the exact kind of emanations Pierce has brought back to this city since the days of the Gilly and company, and Saturday night’s edition not only transformed those fond memories into real emotions, but it almost made up for the mouth-bittering image of John Wall sidelined in a fitted suit, as well — ALMOST. You know we’ll never stop missing you, Johnny.

The turn of events in the game began roughly around the seven-minute mark of the 4th quarter. For the 39 previous minutes, the Wizards rode on a compilation of a redeeming Nene performance; Otto Porter continuing to generate a notion of neglect in the hearts of men who forced their girlfriends to watch a Wizards game, only to later realize their hearts were stolen by him; and the surprising efficiency of Ramon Sessions and Will Bynum as the 2-headed replacement for John Wall. By way of all that was just mentioned (and more), the Wizards built a 21-point lead four minutes into the 4th quarter, with fans (and bloggers row) gloating as their team looked indestructibly en route to a 2-1 series lead.

But we very soon realized the Wizards were certainly not indestructible. For seven suffering minutes, we were exposed to wasted Wizards possessions, one after the other, and the Hawks second unit capitalizing on every one, leading to a 17-0 run. That was really the sad part of all this. With Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and DeMarr Carroll struggling for most of the game, and the Hawks down by a substantial margin, Atlanta coach Mike Bud left his bench unit on the floor, only to let the combination of Dennis Schroder, Mike Scott, and Mike Muscala thinly and gradually carve into the Wizards’ big lead one driving layup or 3-pointer at a time.

All of that is what it took to put Pierce in the position he excels in the most. The position he’s rarely ever failed to capitalize in. The position that, for 17 years and counting, has stirred anger and jealousy amongst those who root against him. Thinking back on it now, I feel like I am weirdly happy the Wizards blew that lead merely because of what became of it. Because of what Pierce gave us at the buzzer. Every team and their fans deserves Paul Pierce. But not every team and their fans will be lucky enough to have Paul Pierce. That is why I am ecstatic to say that we are lucky enough. By God, we f*cking are.

With Paul Pierce, there is always a chance. With Paul Pierce, there is always a measure left for redemption. With a heroic Paul Pierce finish, much else that occurred before it (like a blown 21-point lead in seven 4th quarter minutes) is naturally forgotten. With a heroic Paul Pierce finish, how are you simply not entertained?

The dynamic of Paul Pierce is special because it is offered to you both on and off the court. On the court, his stature as an NBA legend leaks every time he effortlessly knocks down a trailing 3 or an awkward contested jumper in the clutch. His leadership, driven from years of playoff and championship experience and Hall of Fame-caliber performances, is evidenced in the skyrocketing improvements of Otto Porter and Bradley Beal. Off the court, he’ll hit you with a response to your question so quotably sharp, it’d make you want to reevaluate your interviewing techniques. So don’t ask Paul Pierce if he called bank on a buzzer-beating shot, Chris Broussard.

Additionally, you probably shouldn’t call his buzzer-beating shot “lucky” if you’re Dennis Schroder, because Paul Pierce will make a youngin’ like you never want to speak to the media again. It’s true, Dennis may be too young to know, or maybe too out of the loop growing up around soccer fans in Germany to understand the prowess that is Paul Pierce in the clutch for the past 17 seasons. Or just really bad at video games.

If nothing else will convince you of the greatness of Paul Pierce even at this stage of his career, consider this one thing. Consider that, in spite of the demoralizing loss of John Wall, Paul Pierce was still able to generate a level of electricity by way of his gallantry this city and franchise only endures once or twice every DECADE. And this is the exact reason why every morning, I wake up and I thank God for another day of living, for my wife, for the health of my family, and for allowing me to cover Paul Pierce for at least one season. So again I ask, with Paul Pierce, how can you not be entertained?


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