BOSTON (CBS) – Paul Pierce has passed Larry Bird to become the Celtics second all-time leading scorer.
“That’s incredible. You talk about, in my mind, one of the top five players to ever play the game,” said Pierce after the game. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m anywhere near his accomplishments, but just to be mentioned with him with this organization is a great honor.”
“Bird is one of the greatest all time (shooters) in this league, but most of kids didn’t get to see him play. Theyre look at Paul saying he’s the guy I want to be like,” said teammate Ray Allen, who became the NBA’s all-time leader in three pointers made last season. “When they grow up they’ll say they remember these days when he passed Larry Bird, and he cements himself forever.”
Pierce needed 10 points entering Tuesday’s 94-84 win over the Bobcats at the TD Garden. He passed Bird with a three pointer in the third quarter.
“It was a relief,” Pierce said. “So much was hanging over me the last couple of days just hearing about it. Knowing that you’ve got a game to play and so many people talked about it and talked about it. That for me is great feat, knowing that you’re going to be up there with all the great Celtics. You know, Larry Bird is one of the most important players that ever played [for] this franchise. Just to be up there and have your name with them is a great honor.”
The 14-year Celtics forward received a standing ovation during a stoppage in play shortly after. During a time out, he walked onto the middle of the court, thanked fans and took a bow.
“We have great fans. They’ve seen it all from our younger days; from my trials and my tribulations to this point today,” he said. “It’s a great honor just for them to be able to stand up and give me that type of ovation. For being a Celtic for all those years and understanding what it means to be a Celtic.”
Pierce, drafted 10th overall in 1998, has averaged 22.1 points per game over his 14-year NBA career, all with the Celtics.
John Havlicek owns first on the all-time list with 26,395 points in his 16 seasons in Boston.