Paul Pierce Nothing but the Truth with 40-Point Outing vs. Cavs

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after making a three-point shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on December 19, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Pierce finished the game with 40 points. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It's hard to play any better than Paul Pierce did on Wednesday night.

He carried the Boston Celtics (13-12) to a 103-91 victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers (5-22).

His performance bordered on perfection: 40 points (13-of-16 from the field, 6-of-7 from three, 8-of-8 at the free-throw line), eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block in 34 minutes.

He scored 15 points (on 7-of-7 shooting) during the first seven minutes of the second half.

He couldn't find a shot he didn't like.

It wasn't an unfamiliar site for Boston fans, just one they hadn't seen in a while from the former Kansas Jayhawk:

 

Pierce with 40 against the Cavs. Last Celtic with 40 at home; Pierce vs. the Cavs in Game 7 in '08, and RS, Pierce vs. the Cavs in '06.

— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 20, 2012

 

Well, the scoring wasn't unfamiliar. His shooting display, though, was something that the league hadn't seen in years:

 

A note on Paul Pierce's efficiency: Last player with 40+ points on 80% shooting, Gilbert Arenas in 2006. @hpbasketball

— matt r (@Ranzington) December 20, 2012

 

It's been a bumpy year for the Celtics and for their leader of the last decade-plus.

His 41.9 percent field-goal percentage heading into the contest marked a new career low for the 14-year veteran.

The team hasn't fared much better. They entered Wednesday's game losers of three straight, including a 100-89 loss in Chicago on the previous night.

The frustrations appeared to be reaching their boiling point:

 

Postgame last night was Clearly the most frustrated and upset ive seen Paul pierce in a long time. As he searches for the celtics identity

— greg dickerson (@gdickerson_csn) December 19, 2012

 

Rather than dwell on those frustrations, though, Pierce may have just used that for his take-off point:

 

. @gdickerson_csn said Pierce was more frustrated last night than he'd seen in "a long time." Pierce followed it up with 40. Coincidence?

— Celtics Town (@CelticsTown) December 20, 2012

 

The Celtics need a productive Pierce if they hope to factor in the Eastern Conference postseason.

There's no bigger truth in Boston hoops than that.