BOSTON (CBS) – In what could be a blessing in disguise, Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce will not be partaking in the NBA All-Star game in Houston next month.
Pierce was not selected as an Eastern Conference reserve on Thursday for just the second time in the last 12 seasons.
“Eventually that day was going to come,” Pierce said Thursday night following the Celtics 89-86 loss to the Knicks. “You have a lot of young, great players in this league that have stepped up this year, and they’re all deserving.”
Those that will be heading to Houston as reserves for the East are Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, Miami’s Chris Bosh, New York’s Tyson Chandler, Indiana’s Paul George, Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday, and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving.
Pierce, a 10-time All Star, had made the last five All Star squads. In his 15th season, Pierce is averaging 18.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
While Pierce has struggled with his shot as of late, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers says the Celtics sub-.500 record has more to do with the “snub.”
“He played enough to make it, but listen, you’re two games under .500 and we already have two guys on the All Star team. I think the coaching by-laws say we can’t put three guys on,” said Rivers.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and center Kevin Garnett were elected starters of the Eastern Conference squad alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James of the Miami Heat, and New York forward Carmelo Anthony.
Though he doesn’t have another All Star selection for his resume, Pierce will now get five days off in mid-February. The 35-year-old is second on the Celtics averaging 33.4 minutes per game, so a mid-season breather could be the perfect medicine before the final two months of the season.