There's nothing particularly explosive about Paul Pierce's offensive game. He's more resourceful than dynamic, more craftsman than artist, a scorer who relies on space more than velocity. In Game 5 on Sunday night, Pierce applied his trade with precision.
In the first half, he relied on a steady diet of high screens to draw mismatches against the Lakers' big men, then launch his step-back jumper. In the second half, Pierce found opportunities in isolation against Ron Artest.
"Paul is a very deliberate ballplayer," Phil Jackson said after the game. "When he's comfortable out there, he can be very difficult to guard. He's got a step-back. He has a nice shot that he takes off the dribble. His post-up game is good. There are a lot of things he has as weapons out there. He had Ron guessing out there for much of the game."
When he wasn't scoring, Pierce contributed in transition, worked as a playmaker in the pick-and-roll and excelled as a help defender. He also was part of a strange episode just before intermission when he slunk out of play after Rajon Rondo failed to give him the ball to close out the half. After the game, all was good between small forward and point guard. Pierce was merely hungry for the ball, he explained to the media. On Sunday night, his appetite was insatiable.