Paul Pierce pulled a Tebow-esque fourth quarter Tuesday night in Atlanta as the Boston Celtics captain took it upon himself to make sure the series was knotted at one game apiece heading to Boston for the next two games.
Pierce, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, came through when the Celtics really needed him most, especially with starting point guard Rajon Rondo suspended and shooting guard Ray Allen sitting out again with an injured right ankle. The man the call The Truth scored 36 points on 12-of-26 shooting, outscoring the Hawks all by himself over the last 15 minutes of Game 2 to lift the Celtics to an 87-80 victory. He also grabbed 14 rebounds and had four assists.
Down the stretch, the Celtics simplified things: Give the ball to Pierce and get out of the way.
”Paul was great,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ”The only way we were going to win a game like this without Ray and Rondo was if Paul had a game like this.’
After making a couple of foul shots with just over a minute remaining to give Boston an 85-78 lead, Pierce paused on his way back to the bench to copy the move named after New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, sinking to a knee and bowing his head for a brief prayer in the middle of the court. ”You just want to thank God for putting you in those positions,” Pierce said. ”It wasn’t pre-scripted. It just came to me.” Watch Pierce’s Tebowing: