I’ve never been a basketball fan, but these days, in Boston, it’s hard not to get into the winning ways of our sports teams. So, I have found myself watching and enjoying this playoff run for the Celtics, and starting to see what people like about the game. And one of the things that I have found so great, as in baseball, has been the way that the home crowd seems to have a tangible effect on the game. When they’re into it, it’s almost as if they can will the players to be better. Still, I don’t think I have the mental or physical capacity to get into another sport, especially now that the Bruins look like they’ll be interesting again next season.
Anyway, regardless of whether this basketball thing works out, last night’s game will stay with me. I only watched the second half, but I’m glad I did, because I’ve never seen anything like what happened with Paul Pierce. Apparently his first half was pretty lackluster, at least if you judge by the three points he scored, but he broke out of the gate in the third quarter and within 45 seconds had scored five more. He was on fire. Then, a few minutes later, he was hit by his own teammate, fell to the ground, and didn’t get up. Watching him on the floor, clearly in great pain, and then having to be carried off the court and put in a wheelchair, you could feel the crowd fall out of the game immediately. You could almost see the giant question mark hanging over the court.
Happily, this only lasted about two minutes, because, without warning, Pierce came through the tunnel, knee taped up but walking on his own, and the crowd went wild, louder than ever before. Then he came back on the court and played like a man who wanted to single-handedly lead his team to victory, at one point hitting two three-pointers in a row, within about 20 seconds, to give the Celtics a four-point lead. Damn, it was better than any Disney movie could have done it.
That was a defining moment. I don’t know if he’ll be able to walk today, but he’s still gotta feel pretty good about last night.