BOSTON (CBS) – It’s “Reunion Week” for the Boston Celtics, as they pay Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a visit in Brooklyn on Tuesday before welcoming Doc Rivers back to the TD Garden on Wednesday.
Despite breaking his hand a few weeks ago, Pierce may actually play against his former team on Tuesday night. CSNNE’s Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Tuesday morning, and said that’s the same Paul Pierce we grew to love in Boston.
“That’s real Paul. We saw that for years in Boston, he doesn’t like to miss games,” said Gorman. “If there is any chance he can play without further damaging his hand, I’m sure he’ll be out there. It will add some more flavor to this game.”
A report surfaced on Monday claiming Pierce may have lost his passion now that he’s in Brooklyn. But after calling his games for 15 years in Boston, Gorman doesn’t believe a player like Pierce would simply lose his passion.
“I think that’s people on the Nets trying to cover up for what they feel now is a deal they wouldn’t make if they could do it over again. They’re trying to hang (Brooklyn’s struggles) on Paul and on Kevin,” said Gorman. “The numbers would tell you neither one is playing very well, but it’s early. I would like to think the Nets aren’t going to make the playoffs because we have their draft pick, but with that said it’s very early, and the Atlantic division two months from now probably won’t look like it does right now.”
Much is being made of Jordan Crawford’s transformation into Boston’s starting point guard, and how it’s led to the team’s success. Crawford was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 23.3 points and 6.7 assists as the Celtics went 3-0 last week, but Gorman says Crawford has always had the ability to be a point guard — just no one asked.
“Throughout his career people have told him he was a scorer and they wanted him to shoot the ball, so that’s what he did. He would tell you that he could always play point guard, he was always a pretty good passer, but no one wanted him to do it,” said Gorman. “Brad Stevens has asked him to do it, and he’s doing it to the tune of being Eastern Conference Player of the Week.”
“Stevens gets 110 percent out of every guy he coaches, and he’s able to take what a guy’s strength is and maximize it, and fit it into a system,” said Gorman. “”Doc Rivers didn’t have to convince the group he had that they could be winners. This is a group that had low expectations coming into the season, but Brad has convinced them that they can play above those expectations if they listen to him… This is a very fun basketball team to watch play. They play hard.”
Celtics At 7: Stevens Has Fit In Since Day One
Gorman doesn’t think the Celtics will be buyers come the trade deadline, but that shouldn’t stop this year’s team from being a playoff contender.
“The long-term goal is still to accumulate picks and build a team for the future. That said, I dont think that excludes this present team from being a playoff team. The question is if this group continues to buy in; they are going to hit some tough streaks… and we’ll see this team tested at some point and see if they continue to play hard in the face of adversity and loses. If they do, I think we have a real good chance at playing meaningful games in March and early April,” said Gorman.
“If you can win the Atlantic, you can avoid Indiana or Miami in the first round,” he added. “People are saying ‘why make the playoffs in the eight spot?’ If you win the Atlantic you get the third or fourth seed and face a team in the first round you have the potential of beating.”
“I think there are a lot of good nights in store in January and February for this basketball team that seemed liked pie-in-the-sky wishes six weeks ago.”