So... Paul Pierce is having a good week.
27 points on Friday. 34 points on Sunday. 30 points on Tuesday.
After scoring 25+ points just once in February and just three times all season, Pierce has accomplished that feat in all three of the Boston Celtics’ March games. As far as I can tell, he’s either (a) pumped about Boston’s upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities, (b) suffering from an acute case of March Madness or (c) very good at basketball.
Pierce began his scoring spree with 27 last Friday against the New Jersey Nets. Then, on Sunday, he went head-to-head with the New York Knicks in a nationally televised overtime thriller, posting 34 points (13-23 FG, 4-7 3PG, 4-5 FT), seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Pierce played 46 minutes, admittedly inflating his totals a bit, and hit an off-balance/game-tying/overtime-forcing three-pointer at the end of regulation. The Celtics went on to win, 115-111 (full stats here).
Pierce v. NYK highlights, below:
Tuesday night, Pierce found himself in another overtime battle — this time with the Houston Rockets. And again, Pierce poured in 30 points, including seven in the overtime period, and the Celtics won, 97-92. Pierce shot 9-for-21 from the field, cashed in on 11 of 12 free throws and had six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 41 minutes (full stats here).
Pierce OT highlights below, starting at 1:58:
He then followed that up with an eight-point, five-rebound, seven-assist, two-steal performance as the Heat beat the New Jersey Nets, 108-78 on Tuesday (full stats here). Chalmers also had a not-so-impressive five turnovers in 32 minutes against the Nets, but those came on a night when (1) the Heat won, (2) Chalmers helped hold Nets point guard Deron Williams to 16 points after he exploded for 57 on Sunday and (3) Chalmers had his most assists since Jan. 21, so... it works. Like this pass:
The next night, on Monday, Rush and the Warriors took out their frustration on the hapless Washington Wizards and won, 120-100. Rush hit 4 of 5 shots (including a perfect 2 of 2 threes) against the Wizards and had three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes (full stats here).
Markieff spoke to Arizona Sports 620 about his slump:
Committed a lane violation on his own free throw, opted to play a bit of point guard with Brandon Jennings at his side before getting the ball stripped at halfcourt, and skied a pass a few rows up late in the fourth quarter.
But 25 and 10 for Gooden, and hardly an offensive peep from any of the bigs on Philadelphia.
Great instincts from Nick Collison to grab a loose ball and flip it to James Harden who finished in transition on the other end...
Tough box out by Collison to out-hustle Dirk Nowitzki for a defensive rebound...
Perfect pick by Collison to free up Jackson for a 3-pointer...
Collison goes up high on the glass and tips one in...
Great passing by Westbrook to find Collison, then hustle by Westbrook and Collison to tip and corall two offensive boards...
Solid defensive possession from Collison and Harden, who harrassed Nowitzki and Jason Terry for 24 seconds...
A part of neither Aldrich nor Mohammed seeing any playing time had to have had something to do with Mavs starting center Brendan Haywood spraining his foot 30 seconds into the game. I contend that was the best thing to happen to the Mavs, but I digress. When Haywood was lost, it left Dallas with only Ian Mahinmi at center. But Perk and Serge Ibaka were playing well, too, so Brooks let them go.
Another interesting tidbit from Mayberry:
… in the Mavs locker room before the game Dallas already had Cole over Naz as the second center on the depth chart.
AND Thunder coach Scott Brooks sounded pretty pleased with Aldrich’s performance, according to this tweet from DailyThunder.com’s Royce Young before Monday’s game:
Scott Brooks on the radio on Cole Aldrich: "He's getting close. I'm very confident I can throw him in and get results."
Fellow Jayhawk and Thunder teammate Nick Collison also had some nice things to say. Again, from the Oklahoman:
“Cole played well,” Collison said. “He's done well this year when he's got the chance. He's an NBA rotation player. He just hasn't gotten a chance to show it yet. But he's going to be good for us.”
Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets) kept up his impressive play on Monday against the Portland Trailblazers, scoring nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. Henry also hit his only three-pointer and added two rebounds in 18 minutes as the Hornets lost, 86-74 (full stats here).
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks) started for injured Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson again on Tuesday but ended up playing just 18 minutes and scoring two points as the Hawks won, 101-96 against the Indiana Pacers. Hinrich added a rebound, a block and three assists to two turnovers (full stats here).
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) did not play (coach’s decision) on Sunday in a 105-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers or Tuesday in a 97-92 loss to the Boston Celtics. Both times, as has been the trend this season, Marcus was the victim of a crowded Rockets rotation. During the Clippers game, former starting small forward Chase Budinger did not enter the game either, and then on Tuesday, when the Rockets went with a tight eight-man rotation against the Boston Celtics, Marcus sat behind fellow DNP-CD’d SFs Terrence Williams AND Budinger.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Marcus was back with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers soon, if only to keep the rust off. The Vipers are a bit quiet this week, but their schedule ramps up with a bunch of games starting March 12.
Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.net reported on Sunday that Sherron Collins and his Turkish team, Haccetepe, “reached an agreement to part ways.” Collins had averaged 10.9 points in 19 games in Turkey.
Aaron Miles (Russia PBL - Krasnye Krylya) approached triple-double territory on Saturday as he put up nine points, eight assists and 10 rebounds in a 79-73 regular season victory. Miles also had two steals and four turnovers in 31 minutes (full stats here).
Darnell Jackson (Ukraine-Superleague - BC Donetsk) scored 14 points in 18 minutes on Monday in an 80-73 regular-season victory. Jackson also had five rebounds, a steal and a block (full stats here). He also had three-point, six-rebound game on Saturday in 15 minutes during an 86-79 Ukrainian League victory (full stats here).
Unrelated, but Darnell Jackson dunked in a game back in February, and some Ukrainian fan was really excited about it:
Mario Little (Ukraine-Superleague - SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk) put up 13 points, two rebounds, seven assists and three steals on Saturday against former Jayhawk Darnell Jackson’s BC Donetsk, but Little’s team lost, 86-79. Little also had five fouls in 30 minutes during that game (full stats here).
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor) had 10 points, two assists, one rebound, one steal and zero turnovers in 23 minutes on Saturday. Robinson’s team won, 71-69 (full stats here).
Keith Langford (Israeli Premier League - Maccabi Electra) played just nine minutes and went scoreless on Saturday in an 83-77 regular-season victory (full stats here). Two days later, on Monday, Langford bounced back with 16 points seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes during an 82-77 win (full stats here).
Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers is joining Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce as a “brand ambassador” for Spalding. From the release, via SLAMonline.com:
As part of the brand’s 2012 campaign, the trio of rising stars (Chalmers, Jimmer Fredette and Chris Singleton) will appear in digital and print advertising as well as in-store signage. They will also wear the new Spalding signature shoe during game time.
6 p.m., Marcus Morris and the Houston Rockets vs. the Toronto Raptors
6 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
6:30 p.m., NBA TV, Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Chicago Bulls
7 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns
9 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Sacramento Kings
9:30 p.m., NBA TV, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies