It's been a while since Paul Pierce's last 40+ game.Celtics captain Paul Pierce has scored 40 points or more in his career 23 times (including three times in the playoffs). But Tuesday's 43-point effort in a loss to the Knicks was remarkable, not only for being the first regular-season 40-plus effort of the Big Three era, but because of how few shots Pierce needed to accomplish the feat.
Pierce connected on 11 of 19 shots (4 of 6 beyond the arc) on the night and was aided by 17-of-18 shooting at the charity stripe. The 19 field goal attempts matched a career low in a 40-point game (Pierce was 14 of 19 for 40 points vs. Detroit in February 2001 and 13 of 19 for 42 points vs. the Lakers a month later).
You'd have to go all the way back to Feb. 15, 2006 for the last time a Celtics player had a 40-point scorer in the regular season. Celtics radio play-by-play man Sean Grande noted that the Celtics had gone 501 regular-season games without a 40-point scorer.
After the game, Pierce seemed more concerned about Boston's lack of defense than his offensive exploits, telling reporters, "We didn't defend the 3 at all tonight. We dug ourselves a huge hole that we couldn't climb out of."