Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets

Paul Pierce is playing more like Ray Allen this season


Maybe the answer to the question “how are the Celtics going to replace Ray Allen?” was always there, we just didn’t expect it.

How about a little Paul Pierce.

If you’ve watched some Celtics games this season you have seen Pierce, a shot creator for most of his career, working more off the ball coming off picks. Chris Forsberg of went to Synergy Sports and looked up the numbers.

This is the percentage of Pierce’s shots that came from him coming off a screen:

2009-10: 5.5%
2010-11: 9.5%
2011-12: 14%
2012-13: 22.1%

With that, the percentage of his shots that have come as a pure spot-up shooter and the shots he has had to create for himself in isolation are both at four-year lows.

Pierce also is scoring 1.02 points per possession coming off screens, which is a good number.

Pierce is not exactly 25 anymore, so the key is to get him good looks that he doesn’t (or in some ways can’t) get anymore the way he did for much of his career. Boston has found that, and while not Ray Allen numbers (35 percent of his shots came off screens last year) this is a great alternative.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?