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Pierce returns off bench, beats former team
It finally happened. Not that Paul Pierce ever intended for things to go down this way, exactly, but the 16-year veteran, in his 1,118th NBA game, played against the Boston Celtics for the very first time Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
Now a member of the Nets, Pierce had missed the previous four games with a broken bone in his right hand, so he came off the bench in his not-so-storybook showdown with his former team, which traded him away to build for the future.
The (hurt) Truth at least got the win after playing 22 minutes, going 0-for-3 from the field and finishing with four points, seven rebounds and three assists. But it was the return of another once ailing Net, point guard Deron Williams, that led Brooklyn to a 104-96 home win.
Pierce served as a sub for just the fourth time in his illustrious career and didn't appear to be 100 percent (he wore a protective glove of sorts on his hand), but he proved he could still make plays, with this dish to Nets big man Andray Blatche.
One might assume Pierce only came back at this point so he could do damage against his former team. However, the veteran called the timing a "coincidence" in a story from Newsday's Roderick Boone:
"My whole focus was about getting back healthy, coming out trying to help my team, establishing something at home. It just happens to be a coincidence that the day I come back is against the Celtics. It will probably be a little bit more emotional when I go back to Boston. We already had a preseason game against them. I already had a chance to holler at them in the preseason."
It's hard to imagine a guy with 24,211 career regular-season points to his name could become a backup, but his first-year coach, Jason Kidd, hinted the struggling Nets (7-14) could use Pierce in that role, according to a story from Stefan Bondy in the New York Daily News:
“I liked him being a leader with that second group,” Kidd said. “Will it stay that way? I don’t know. We will look at the video tomorrow as a team and coaches. I will talk to Paul and see what his comfort level is, but I would like to get him back, give him more minutes and get him used to that glove.”
We'll have to wait and see how long that takes, and if the highly touted Nets can start living up to their hype with the help of the former Jayhawks star.
Super Morris Bros.
In the ongoing battle to see who is the superior Morris twin off of the Phoenix Suns' bench, Marcus took another step forward Tuesday night.
His twin brother, Markieff (13.0 points, 6.2 rebounds), has stood out most of the season thus far for the surprising Suns (12-9), but Marcus (11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds) had another breakout game in Phoenix's 114-108 win at the Los Angeles Lakers. Mook (is that short for Marcus? I don't know, but his Twitter handle is @MookMorris2) made 10 of his 13 shots in the Phoenix win and scored a season-high 22 points.
Paul Coro, of azcentral.com, called it Marcus's best game of the season, noting the 6-foot-9 Wonder Twin exploits bigger power forwards when the Suns go small ball. In those situations, Marcus said, his larger defenders tend to back off on the perimeter, in order to better defend potential drives.
“Little do they know, that’s what I want,” Morris said. “I work on (jumpers) every day with Mark (West, Suns assistant coach).”
The Morrii, Coro pointed out, scored 11 straight points for the Suns late. And Markieff didn't have a bad game, either, with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Good thing Marcus was looking out for him.
Chalmers a surefire hall-of-famer (in Alaska)
NBA fans got to see the season's first marquee matchup of the Eastern Conference Tuesday night, when the Miami Heat played at the Indiana Pacers.
In the first of what figures to be numerous battles (regular-season and playoffs) between the clear-cut favorites of the East, Mario Chalmers had kind of a rough night in a 90-84 loss.
The sixth-year guard out of Kansas shot 3-for-7, had nine points, two steals, two assists and two turnovers for the two-time defending champion Heat (16-6) against the league's current top team, Indiana (19-3).
These in-game tweets from the media reveal a little more about what Chalmers endured.
David West scores, then drills Mario Chalmers with a forearm coming back up the floor. Chalmers still rubbing his chest.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) December 11, 2013
Mario Chalmers gets up with a smile after he's not rewarded for his flop— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) December 11, 2013
Chalmers at least served up a highlight dish in the final minutes — not that it will win him any notoriety.
The Anchorage, Alaska, native's past performances earned him some distinction, though. He received some good news before the game: Chalmers will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
And, hey, even after a disappointing loss, things could be worse: Chalmers could spend his winters in Minnesota, instead of Miami.
It's official Minnesota is colder than Alaska. Never thought I would see the day. Enjoy y'all day.— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) December 7, 2013
Before we wrap things up, just for good measure, here's Ben McLemore in a Sacramento Kings Santa hat doing good.
— Don't forget to check out our daily 'Hawks in the NBA stat recaps here at KUsports.com.