Paul Pierce hit another milestone in his Hall of Fame career on Wednesday night.
The Truth became the 16th player in NBA history to hit the 26,000-point milestone in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 103-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. With 26,004 points, Paul is 16th on the league’s all-time scoring list, where he is fifth among active players.
Clippers head coach, and Paul’s longtime coach with the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers said that there is just something special about the way The Truth plays the game of basketball.
“Paul’s just special,” Rivers said. “He frustrated me when I coached against him because I didn’t see the athleticism. It used to drive me crazy. You think, this slow guy, how is he scoring? Then, when you coach him, you realize he’s not slow. He’s got a great first step and he’s a better athlete than you think and he’s strong as heck. But I think Paul has scored most of his points from fundamentals. Every kid should watch his footwork. And he’s still beating guys off the dribble and it’s amazing.”
The mile-marker bucket came at the buzzer of the first period. With time winding down, Clippers guard Lance Stephenson sent the ball out to No. 34 on the right wing. Paul fooled Milwaukee defender Johnny O’Bryant with a pump fake and stepped up, where he buried a 17-foot jumper to give him 26,000 points for his career—and to push send the Clips into the second quarter with an eight-point lead.
— NBA (@NBA) December 17, 2015
Paul rounded out his six-point night with a couple of layups off the drive in the second quarter; the first off an assist from Austin Rivers, and the second again off a dime by Stephenson, who finished with four on the night.
The Bucks jumped out to an early lead, but the Clippers stole the advantage at the 6:53 mark of the first quarter and led the rest of the way.
Milwaukee reined L.A. back in on a few occasions, including late in the third quarter, but two assists by The Truth gave the Clips some breathing room. The Bucks had cut the lead to single digits, when Paul passed to forward Josh Smith for a three-pointer to give their team a 12-point lead going into the final quarter. Then to open the final period, No. 34 again assisted on a Smith jumper to make it 14.
Throughout the fourth quarter, the Bucks knocked on the door, cutting the lead as low as seven. But a couple of three-pointers by point guard Chris Paul in the waning minutes slammed it shut, sealing L.A.’s third straight win, and their ninth in the last 11 games.
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS – DEC. 17
1. Golden State Warriors (25-1)
2. San Antonio Spurs (22-5)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-8)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (16-10)
5. Dallas Mavericks (14-12)
6. Memphis Grizzlies (14-13)
7. Houston Rockets (12-14)
8. Denver Nuggets (11-14)
The Clippers have a tough weekend ahead of them with a little Texas two-step: a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday against two of the Western Conference’s top teams: the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets.
“It will be intense,” L.A. forward Blake Griffin said of the coming meeting with the Spurs. “You’re always going to get a great game against San Antonio. They’re obviously well-coached, obviously they have a ton of talent, great leaders. I mean, across the board they’re a team that does things the right way and any time you go there and play or you play them anywhere, they’re going to be well prepared, they’re going to execute, so we have to be even more prepared, we have to execute even better. We can’t allow game-plan mistakes to happen, the things that we go over and the things we know that they’re trying to get to, we can’t allow that to happen. If we do, they have too much firepower.”
The Spurs have won four straight since their last loss on Dec. 10 on the road against the Toronto Raptors. Most recently, they beat Paul’s former team, the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
This will be the first of three meetings between the Clips and the Spurs this regular season. L.A. ended San Antonio’s season in 2014-15, taking a thrilling seven-game series in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Tipoff for this tilt is set for 5 p.m. PT and will be nationally broadcast on ESPN. Saturday’s game against Houston will tip at the same time and air on FOX Sports West 2.
- Bucks at Clippers: Game Book (NBA, Dec. 16, 2015)
- Five takeaways from Clippers’ victory over Milwaukee (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 16, 2015)
- Paul Pierce becomes 16th player in NBA history to score 26,000 points (Boston.com, Dec. 16, 2015)
- LeBron James: Chapter in my book reserved for Pierce, Celtics (MassLive.com, Dec. 16, 2015)
- Paul Pierce surpasses 26,000 point mark (Fan Sided, Dec. 16, 2015)
- Paul scores 21 points, Clippers beat Bucks (AP, Dec. 16, 2015)
- Lance Stephenson sparks Clippers’ victory over Bucks (Orange County Register, Dec. 16, 2015)