Clippers’ Rivers says Pierce has always been underrated

first_imgRight frame of mindAlthough Doc Rivers has not made it official, there seems a strong possibility Pierce will come off the bench for the first time in his career, with Lance Stephenson starting at small forward.Therein lies perhaps the best thing about Pierce at this stage of his career – his willingness to do something he’s never done for the good of the team. In 17 seasons, he’s started 1,240 of the 1,250 games he’s played.“Everybody understands the big picture,” Pierce said. “Everybody wants to win. We have a lot of guys here who have made a lot of money in their careers and played a number of years and trying to find what is left.“For me, it’s trying to win another championship. I try to tell the guys the same things and guys really need to accept those roles.”CP3 enjoyed comebackIt may have been an exhibition game, but Chris Paul was thrilled to be part of Thursday’s comeback, which came after the Clippers trailed 64-29 midway through the second quarter.“It was fun,” said Paul, who had eight points and eight assists. “The energy and excitement of our team was huge. Everyone was genuinely excited about what was going on. Now we just need to stay the course.”This and thatDoc Rivers listed Jamal Crawford as day-to-day after Crawford missed Thursday’s game with a right triceps contusion. … The Clippers open the regular season Wednesday at Sacramento. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “When he plays, he just does nothing fast, so you don’t think that he’s quick. You don’t think he can jump, yet he can. He just chooses not to. He doesn’t have to. So when you coach him up close, you see how good he is. I think our fans here will appreciate him more, especially at this age.”Rivers marveled at what Pierce did Thursday.“He was getting shots on 24-year-olds today and he just knows how to score,” Rivers said. “He’s a professional scorer.”Austin Rivers was funny after the game, telling reporters Pierce is not one bit fast. In his case, it’s not needed.“You can’t teach his footwork,” he said. “I ain’t never seen nobody have footwork … he’s probably one of the best footwork small forwards of all time. Seriously.”center_img It was late Thursday night at Staples Center. The Clippers had just come all the way back from a 35-point second-quarter deficit to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-109 in their final exhibition game.Paul Pierce, who turned 38 on Oct. 13, was one of many heroes. He scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. He made four of his five 3-point baskets in those final 12 minutes, including on three consecutive possessions to pull the Clippers 96-95. His fourth long-distance basket of the quarter gave his team a 113-107 lead with 1:23 left to play.Could it be that the Trail Blazers just didn’t think Pierce could do that at his age? According to coach Doc Rivers, Pierce has perhaps been underestimated for a long time. “I think he has been underrated his whole career, in a strange way,” said Rivers, who coached Pierce for nine years in Boston, the two winning a title there in 2008. “I even told that to him when I first took the job in Boston, that I underrated him. I knew prior that he was good. I just didn’t know he was that good. I never knew he was athletic.last_img


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