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

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

BOSTON – There’s certainly some disappointment among Celtics Nation that Isaiah Thomas just missed out on being an All-Star starter in the East.

But one thing we can certainly see with the new voting system … it works way better than the old way of choosing starters.

This was the first year that the NBA decided to allow current NBA players as well as a select panel of media choose who the starting five in the Eastern and Western Conferences would be.

The fan vote would count for 50 percent while media and players would each represent 25 percent of the final tally.

From there, the players would receive a fan ranking, a media ranking and a player ranking.

Because of the aforementioned breakdown – fans count for 50 percent while media and players represent 25 percent of the vote – the fan ranking would be counted twice while the media and player rankings would be counted once.

Let’s look at Isaiah Thomas’ situation which ultimately came down to him and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan for the final starting spot in the backcourt.

Thomas was fourth in the fan voting, second in the player voting and first among guards in the media voting. So when you add the fan voting (4 *2) + player voting (2 *1) + media voting (1*1), you get a total of 11 which is then divided by 4 to arrive at a score of 2.75.

Now let’s look at DeRozan.

He was third in the fan voting, third in the player ranking and second in the media voting among guards. So his score when you add the fan voting (3*2) + player voting (3*1) + media voting (2*1), you get a total of 11 which when divided by 4 brings you to a score of 2.75 – same as Thomas.

The tiebreaker was the fan vote which meant DeRozan and not Thomas, would get the starting nod in next month’s All-Star game.

As much as it may suck that Thomas lost out because of this system, he would not have had a shot at being a starter under the old system in which the fans were the ones to pick starters.

In fact, it would have been Chicago’s Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup under the old system.

No disrespect to D-Wade, but he has not had an All-Star worthy season. And had the old system been in place, he would be an all-star and thus take up a roster spot of another player who frankly, is more deserving.

And if you take a glance out West, they too would have had a starter who has not had an All-Star caliber season.

Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia finished second in the voting among Western Conference forwards, fueled in large part to his home country, Georgia, voting early and often for him. Because of the media and player voting, Pachulia wound up sixth among Western Conference big men which is still too high when you consider some of the players behind him – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan – who are all having better seasons.

While no one would say this new system is perfect, considering how this year’s voting would have panned out under the old rules, this change by the league is a good one that should stick around.

NOTE: I was among the media panelists selected by the NBA to vote for this year’s All-Star starters. My selections in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Kevin Love and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. My Western Conference selections were Kevin Durant of Golden State, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in the frontcourt, with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the backcourt.