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

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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."

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

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Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

Tiger Woods, recovering from his fourth back surgery in the last three years, was arrested on DUI charges Monday morning in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods, 41, is the winner of 79 PGA tournaments in his career (including 14 majors). He was stopped this morning at around 3 a.m. and booked at 7:18 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Physical problems have plagued Woods in recent years, but he said last week "unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again." However, he will need months to recover from his most recent surgery.

Get the latest on this story from golfchannel.com

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.