BOSTON (CBS)- With a veteran core, the Boston Celtics knew they would likely be celebrating a few milestones throughout the season.
On Wednesday night, they celebrated two.
Both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce climbed up the NBA’s all-time scoring list during Wednesday night’s 112-88 win over the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden, surpassing some of the greatest players to ever play the game.
First up was Garnett, who with a short bank shot in the second quarter surpassed Laker-great Jerry West – better known as the man featured in the NBA logo – to move into 15th on the all-time scoring list. Not long after KG’s milestone, Celtics captain Paul Pierce jumped into the Top 20 on the list, surpassing Charles Barkley.
“When you pass a Barkley and a West, those names, that’s pretty impressive,” Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said after the win. “I mean, Kevin just passed The Logo. When you think of it in those terms, it’s pretty remarkable what he’s doing.”
“We’re making a joke around here that every other two days we’re making history,” joked Garnett. “That’s not a bad joke to be a part of.”
For Garnett, who for his entire career has put scoring second to focus on a more all-around game, he has just one word for climbing all these All-Time lists.
“I’m flattered to be honest,” he said. “When they told me I passed Wes Unseld on the rebounding (list) I was at a loss for words just because of, you guys have no idea what I was like as a kid. I didn’t have all the magazines, but for some reason I had all the pictures from the magazines – that’s another story. I fantasized, mimicked, appreciated all the things a young kid does when he’s creating heroes; anything to generate any type of motivation, at times to generate a distraction.”
Garnett On Milestone:
“When you guys tell me I surpassed people I used to use for these different feelings, it’s another form of feeling, another form of emotion,” Garnett continued. “I know someday I’ll probably sit back and think about it, and it will actually mean something. The one word I keep thinking about is just ‘flattered.’ Without those people who created our history, or made our league what it is for young guys or younger guys like myself, to follow their path there wouldn’t be any Kevin Garnetts, there wouldn’t be any yesteryears, so I’m flattered more than honored.”
Pierce was a little happier given the fact he passed the always outspoken Barkley.
“When you pass a guy like Barkely, one of the greatest players to play the game, it means a lot,” he said. “I think I’m going to appreciate it because it’s Charles Barkley; he always talks a lot of smack about us. I’m happy that was him.”
Pierce On Milestone:
But the highlight for Garnett had nothing to do with the name Pierce was passing, just watching Pierce – a long-time friend and teammate – further cement his spot in NBA history.
“Paul and I have history and it’s only right that we come in here and we make history together,” said Garnett. “Thirteen, 14 [years old], tearing up his mom’s living room, breaking vases, almost getting our asses whooped. Paul, first time I ever experienced Crenshaw on a Sunday — for you all that don’t know Crenshaw on a Sunday, Crenshaw on a Sunday is a big deal — taking me out, being 15, 16 years old. Then finally being able to follow our dreams — McDonald’s [All-Americans], having some duration together, trying to go to the same school, obviously going different paths, and then finally meeting up here in Boston, winning the championship, doing the things we’ve been doing since we’ve been here.
“Twenty-thousand points, now we’re surpassing people we grew up mimicking and obviously idolizing. It’s special. It’s special to do it with a personal friend. Not just a teammate, but a real friend — someone that knows you, knows your family, knows what you come from and vice versa, knows the things that motivates you and pushes you,” he continued. “I always tell people I have the greatest seat in the house watching one of the best players in NBA history put the ball in the basket every night. It’s special to be able to do it with him.”
“It’s an honor just being out there with Kevin,” said Pierce, returning the favor. “It feels like at this point Kevin is passing someone every other night. It seems like every night we’re giving him an ovation. It’s the same thing. It just tells you about his longevity, his hard work, him being one of the greats and being able to do it on a consistent basis.”
Garnett’s next milestone isn’t very far away, as he needs just 78 points to surpass Reggie Miller to move into 14th on the All-Time list. Pierce is a little further back of 19th, trailing Allen Iverson by 605 points.