Pierce says his knee is fine, it’s not. Sixers covering him like he’s fine anyway.

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It’s obvious — painfully obvious — that Paul Pierce’s sprained knee is bothering him. He’s not moving the same, he has no lift, he’s shooting 5-20 in the last two games, he’s just not the guy who carried the Celtics at stretches in the first round.

Except, don’t tell him that.

Pierce clearly got tired of being asked about his knee and snapped back a little to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

As he walked out of the Garden on Monday night, I saddled up next to him and offered, “It’s got to be frustrating.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said, in uncharacteristically brusque fashion.

“Your knee,” I said. “It’s limiting you … ”

“There’s nothing wrong with my knee,” he said.

Right.

The Sixers know he is hurting, reserve and former Celtic Tony Battie said as much.

“I know he’s hurt,” Battie said, “but Paul’s definitely not going to ever admit that to anyone. You can see it. His shot is a little flat. His knee is bothering him, and he’s had some foot problems, and his lift isn’t 100 percent. But he’s still the heart and soul of that team. We know Paul. We know he can get it going.”

Which is why the Sixers are not treating Pierce as hurt — they are focused on not letting him get going. Hobbled or not they are treating him as the Celtics biggest threat. It’s working. Look at what they told CSNNE.com.