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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Truth set them free

Admit it. You're not always sure you are a Paul Pierce fan. Just when you get comfortable he does something -- like toss his headband and scowl. Often a loss is close at hand.

But No. 34 -- filling the same small forward position formerly owned by No. 33 -- earned his permanent respect today. Pierce's 41 points in Game 7 against the very good Cleveland Cavaliers evoked two memories from Celtics glory years:

Like Cedric Maxwell in 1984, Pierce told his teammates to climb on his back. And like Larry Legend himself in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 1988, he went mano-a-mano with The King -- and won.

Pierce was matched up with King Lebron James throughout the series, resulting in less-than-stellar offense statistics. But with everything on the line today, Pierce turned in what may prove to be his best performance in Green -- and allow the Celtics to move on to Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals.

This season has all been about KG and Ray -- and they certainly deserve an enormous amount of the credit for moving the Celtics from the outhouse to a chance at the penthouse. Pierce is well, Pierce. He's been around for 10 years -- many of them truly atrocious.

But it's no mistake that Pierce remained the captain, even if he he has always lacked the vociferous intensity and vocal leadership of Kevin Garnett. He's been the one to keep the flame alive and his new teammates recognized his importance.

Pierce responded by having a standout season.

But trouble always seems to be around the corner with No. 34 -- from his stabbing to his occasional fits of pique that made him appear childish. Often times, he and former partner on crime Antoine Walker made you want to cringe. And his scowl is intense.

This playoff season has been perplexing. The road losses in Cleveland, standing on their own, can be explained. Piled on top of three inexplicable losses in Atlanta, it's a lot harder.

But today, The Truth set himself and his teammates free with a tremendous win.

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