"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.
"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.
Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.
Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.
However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.
Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.
What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.
Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.
This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.
Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.
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