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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce leave court without shaking hands (Video)

Kevin Garnett Paul PierceKevin Garnett stayed true to his competitive form to the very end. After the Boston Celtics lost to the New York Knicks 88-80 in a series-ending Game 6 at TD Garden on Friday, Garnett walked off the court without appearing to shake hands with his opponents. Teammates Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were right in front of him as they walked off the court and into the locker room.

Exiting the playoffs without congratulating his opponents on the court is a postseason tradition for KG. He and Rajon Rondo did it last year after Boston lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Neither player would apologize for not being sportsmanlike, and Rondo even said he wished the team had more “sore losers.” Though Rondo wasn’t around because he is rehabbing his knee injury, Boston did have more sore losers this time to join Garnett.

There actually is a lot more going on here than a matter of sportsmanship; there is a lot of bad blood between the teams. In January, Garnett and Carmelo Anthony got into it during and after a game. Then the Knicks angered the Celtics by wearing all black to Game 4 for the “funeral” of the Celtics.

Garnett is signed for two more seasons while Pierce has a $15.3 million team option. Boston could buy out Pierce for $5 million. Garnett, who is turning 37 on May 19, hinted in February that he would be retiring after the season. Pierce has indicated that he does not want to play for any other team. This may finally be the year both players call it a career.

If Garnett’s last actions on an NBA court were walking off without congratulating his opponent, it would be very befitting of his competitive personality.

Paul Pierce says he is leaving his options open, may test free agency

The thought of Paul Pierce wearing anything other than a Celtics uniform is as bizarre as it gets. When Pierce opted out of the final year of his contract two summers ago, he openly admitted he had no intention of leaving Boston but was simply trying to give the team more flexibility to improve by signing a four-year deal. Could the situation be different the next time around?

Pierce is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, with the Celtics holding a team option for the 2013-2014 season. Considering Boston just signed Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass to three-year deals, the captain knows it would be silly to ask for an extension now. Instead, he says he has not ruled out testing free agency.

“I think I am going to play this one out,” Pierce said according to the Boston Herald. “I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body (may not) be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It’s about winning a championship and if I feel like it’s the right thing to do, maybe so (come back). If I solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it’s about keeping your options open.”

For a 34-year-old player who has missed hardly any time in his 14-year career, two years is a very long time. Chances are the Celtics will pick up his option, and it would make sense for Pierce to retire following that season. He has been with Boston through some truly horrendous seasons and rarely ever voiced his displeasure. The NBA is a business, but Pierce has defined loyalty for well over a decade. The Celtics can’t allow him to finish his career in another uniform.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Paul Pierce walks off court with 2.2 seconds left in Game 2 (Video)

Paul Pierce fouled out of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in the final minute of regulation, and he also made an early exit from the game in the final seconds of overtime.

The Celtics forward was shown by ESPN cameras leaving the floor and walking to the locker room with 2.2 seconds left in the game. Our guess is that he began making his exit when his team was down 114-108 with a few seconds left before Rajon Rondo improbably made another three pointer to make it 114-111.

Even if a comeback was unlikely at that point, players should always try their best, and guys on the bench should always support their teammates. About the only excuse I could imagine for Pierce is if he had to get treatment or go to the bathroom or something, but even in that case he should be able to wait a minute for the game to finish.

Paul Pierce Tebows during Hawks game (Video)

Just when you thought “Tebowing” was dead, Paul Pierce went ahead and revived it. The Celtics forward dropped down on one knee on the Atlanta Hawks logo after knocking down a free throw with 1:15 left in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Pierce had a monster game, going for 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists in his team’s 87-80 win in Atlanta.

“You like to thank God for putting you in these positions,” Pierce explained after the game. “It wasn’t pre-scripted, it just came to me,” he said of his Tebowing.

Doc Rivers didn’t see his All-Star forward drop down and pray, but he liked it when told about it.

“I missed it,” Rivers told the media. “If he did it, that’s terrific. I’m a Florida native so I’ll take that. I wish he hadn’t had done it, but I hadn’t seen it.”

Pierce may be 34 years old, but he can still get it done. Though, as he reminded everyone after the game, his efforts are not without repercussion:

Paul Pierce and Josh Hamilton Dressed as Buzz Lightyear: Who Wore it Better?

I have to give this one to Paul Pierce on account of his hood and gloves. Never underestimate the power of accessories. Although you have to hand it to Josh Hamilton — with his build, he sure fills out the costume well.

Pictures via @PaulPierce34, @KandJHamilton
H/T NESN, Rangers Blog

Fan Smoking Caused Paul Pierce and Michael Beasley Asthma Attacks in China

UPDATE: Paul Pierce says the report is not true

Wait, Michael Beasley has asthma?  But doesn’t he … never mind.  On to the point.  People born in the 1920s probably think it seems strange to have smoking banned in indoor arenas and sporting venues across America.  While sporting events are a safer place because of it, many of them are accustomed to seeing Red Auerbach puffing on a cigar during Celtics games.  It sounds like Red’s tradition lives on in China.

As you all know, some of the NBA players have been balling over in China during the lockout.  During the International Basketball Cup, an eight-team tournament, Beasley and Paul Pierce both suffered asthma attacks as a result of the smoke that regularly fills the stadium in Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang province.  Both were forced to sit out a game (although Beasley also has an injured wrist). Here’s the translation that NiuBBall.com gathered from a Chinese news site.

“While playing in Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang province… Pierce and Beasley both suffered asthma attacks due to large amounts of fans smoking cigarettes inside the stadium. After the game, things got even more shocking when Beasley fell to the floor in his hotel and started to roll around in obvious pain, scaring everyone around half-to-death. At that point, there was no choice but to dial 120 (the number for an ambulance in China) and take him to the hospital.”

As Deadspin pointed out, Beasley’s reaction may have had more to do with the wrist injury.  Still, it is strange to see smoking allowed at indoor stadiums with what we’re used to in America.  I’m not saying it’s a better way to do things or a safer way –  actually, yes I am. It is.

Paul Pierce Ejection Video – Referee Ed Malloy Going too Far?

Easily the most controversial call of the second round of the NBA Playoffs came in Game 1 of the Heat-Celtics series. Paul Pierce already had one technical foul when he set a screen on Dwyane Wade in the fourth quarter. They exchanged words, and Pierce may have said something to referee Ed Malloy who gave him his second technical. The second technical resulted in an automatic ejection that had Doc Rivers livid and all fans screaming about the call. Here’s a video of the Paul Pierce ejection for you to judge:

Jeff Van Gundy was going nuts as a commentator about the call, saying referee Ed Malloy had gone too far. Fans were screaming the same thing. That may be the case, but we can’t fairly judge the situation until we know what Pierce said to Malloy. The NBA instituted a rule before the season saying players were being watched more closely for overt reactions to calls and that their reactions could result in technicals. I’m guessing that’s the reason Pierce got his second technical that resulted in his ejection.

Under these guidelines, it’s quite possible that Pierce’s words (or actions) warranted a tech. Whether the rule should be in place is a debatable issue, but what isn’t questionable is receiving a technical for overt reactions to calls under these rules. Sadly this isn’t the first controversial call we’ve had during the playoffs.

Chest bump to Ben Golliver for the video