Pierce passes Bird for second on C's all-time scoring list


Pierce passes Bird for second on C's all-time scoring list

BOSTON A big shot-maker.

A lottery pick.

A father.

A stabbing victim.

An NBA champion.

Paul Pierce is known for many things during his time with the Boston Celtics.

Here's one more - one of the franchise's all-time greats.

Pierce's 14-year NBA career has been one filled with various milestones surpassed, but few compare to what he did on Tuesday.

At the 10:23 mark of the third quarter, Pierce scored career point 21,792 and with it, he became the No. 2 all-time scorer for the most storied franchise in the NBA. He surpassed Larry Bird's 21,791 career points scored mark, and now only trails John Havlicek who racked up a franchise-record 26,395 points while playing for the Celtics.

Following the 3-point shot which was part of a 94-84 win over Charlotte, a loud, boisterous eruption of jubilation engulfed the TD Garden. Pierce, soaking it all in, raised both hands in appreciation of the crowd in attendance, uttering the words, "Thank You!" to them all.

Kevin Garnett gave him a hug, followed by a tap on the backside from Charlotte's Kemba Walker who starred at nearby UConn and led the Huskies to a national championship last season.

To see the crowd respond the way it did, speaks to more than just their appreciation for what Pierce had accomplished.

It was also an acknowledgment of how far the 34-year-old had come.

"They've seen it all from my younger days, from my trials and tribulations, to this point today and it's just a great honor to just for them, to be able to stand up and give me that type of ovation," said Pierce, who had 15 points and has now scored 21,797 for his career. "Being a Celtic for all these years and understanding what it means to be a Celtic and the ups and downs you go through, and just to come to this point in your career it really means so much, just the support that they have given me over the years."

Few would have envisioned the kid who grew up in Engelwood, Calif., a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan, would eventually become one of the greatest Celtics players ever.

And the idea that his name is mentioned in the same breath as Larry Bird - and deservedly so - is mind-blowing to Pierce.

"I'm not gonna sit here and say that I'm anywhere near his accomplishments," Pierce said. "But just to be mentioned with him, with this organization is a great honor."

And while Pierce did a good job of not getting too emotional about the moment, the Celtics' in-arena folks didn't make things easier with a moving, video montage of Pierce that played on the Jumbotron during a time-out at the 5:14 mark of the third quarter.

"I actually saw glimpses of it," Pierce said. "I'll probably soak it in a little bit more once I go home and sit down and realize what's really going on. Right now it's just, it's so fresh in my head right now that the game is over."

Yes, the C's actually played a game before and after Pierce's record-climbing moment.

And while the Celtics were in control most of the game, knowing he was so close to surpassing Bird had an impact on all the C's who seemed determined to get him the record as early as possible.

He came into the game needing just 10 points, which isn't that big a stretch when you consider he came into the game as the team's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game.

"Whenever you pass anybody in Boston, that means you're old," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "That's the only way you can get there. You will have had to play a long time. The history of this franchise, and the numbers that have been amassed, it's just amazing that his longevity he's been able to play relatively injury-free. He's been so consistent throughout his career.

Rivers added, "passing Larry Bird in anything is pretty impressive."

And Bird, currently the president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers, recognizes Pierce as one of the league's premier scorers.

"Paul is one of the best offensive players in the NBA and what makes him effective is he has done it a variety of ways, whether it's hitting the big shot, getting to the free throw line, whatever," Bird said. "He can hit the 3 and he's deceptive in his ability to to getting to the basket."

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