Here's to 40 for The Truth

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Here's to 40 for The Truth

Last night at the Garden, Paul Pierce turned back the clock and dropped 40 points on the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the 21st 40-point outing of his career the 24th if you count the playoffs but I was surprised by how rarely it's happened over the last few years.

Do you realize that last night was only Pierce's third 40-point game since 2006?

Most recently, he had 43 in a loss to the Knicks last April. Before that, there was the 41 he dropped on LeBron in Game 7 of the 2008 playoffs.

Before that? You have to go all the way back to February 15, 2006 (against Cleveland again) for his last 40-point game. That feels like a long time. That is a long time.

And I guess that's just what happens when players get older. Unless you're Kobe or Jordan, the ability andor need to dominate just isn't what it used to be and the 40-point performances slowly start to disappear. And that's certainly been the case with Paul.

But with that being said, I don't know if we can call last night a throwback Paul Pierce performance. I don't think should make reference to him "turning back the clock" (even though I already did). That's because, in reality, this wasn't 23-year-old Pierce dropping an all around 40-point frenzy on an unsuspecting opponent (like he did EIGHT times during the 2000-01 season), instead this was 2012 Pierce older, wiser, more crafty and methodical.

Last night, Pierce attempted only 16 shots, which is the fewest he's ever had in a 40-point game. He attempted eight free throws, which is the second fewest he's ever had in a 40 point game. His six three-pointers were the most he's ever made in a 40-point game. Lastly, last night was only the fourth time that Pierce has scored 40 in fewer than 40 minutes, and he's never done it in fewer than the 34 minutes he played last night.

That's not old school. That's just school.

That's Pierce's game these says.

And last night it was better than ever.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

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Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

Celtics forward Jae Crowder talks with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talks about building on a breakthrough season last year, and the love for his head coach Brad Stevens, and for the city of Boston.

Also, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk about what lies ahead for Crowder in 2016/17.

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Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

WALTHAM – There are a number of NBA players we have seen through the years whose effort level has been questioned.
 
But when it comes to Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, that has never been an issue.
 
In fact, Bradley’s all-out style of defense has been a major factor in him being sidelined for an extended period of time in each of his six NBA seasons.
 
Although he’s only 25 years old, Bradley is starting to embrace the idea of less all-out defense might not be such a bad idea.
 
“It’s hard to control my injuries because I play hard every single possession,” Bradley told CSNNE.com following the team’s first practice. “I can’t say that every NBA player doesn’t, but I know there’s not a lot. I play hard every single possession especially on the defensive end. That can take a toll on your body. I just have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and picking my spots a little better.”
 
Prior to the Celtics selecting Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2011, he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury. Throughout his five NBA seasons, the veteran guard has a long list of injuries which has sidelined him for at least five games every season in addition to missing some playoff games.
 
Knowing the risks involved in continuing his all-out brand of basketball, the fact that Bradley is even open to the idea of picking when to assert himself defensively and when to be more passive, is progress.
 
“I’m pretty sure someone like (ex-Celtics) Tony Allen …  he’s not going to go hard like every possession,” Bradley said. “He’s going to pick his spots, still play good defense.”
 
Which is exactly what Bradley is striving to do this season, and show that last season’s all-NBA First Team Defense nod wasn’t a fluke.

But as we have seen with Bradley throughout his career with the Celtics, he has a way of coming back every season having made a significant stride in some facet of the game to become closer to being a two-way player.
 
“That’s my goal; I want my teammates to be able to count on me playing well at both ends of the floor,” Bradley said.
 
And as I mentioned earlier, Bradley is still a relatively young guy who turns 26 years old in November.
 
‘I’m still a 90s baby’ just like everybody on this team,” quipped Bradley.
 
Being so young puts a premium of sorts on players to learn all they can as quickly as they can in relation to their respective team.
 
“I feel young; I feel young,” Bradley said. “I feel young. I still haven’t even played a full season yet. This will be my first season playing a whole season.”
 
Listening to Bradley talk about adjusting how he plays defensively, it’s pretty clear that he’s having an internal tug-of-war between continuing to play elite defense and easing up defensively.
 
“That’s just me. Some people can do it. Maybe I could take some (plays) off, play passing lanes,” Bradley said. “But I don’t think I’ll ever change into that. It could help our team out a little bit.”