With the 2015-16 season in the books for the Los Angeles Clippers, we’re counting down forward Paul Pierce’s five best games of the season. We’ll begin with No. 5, a game in which Paul’s leadership on and off the court propelled the Clips to a 104-90 victory over the Miami Heat on January 13, 2016.
No. 5: Truth’s Speech Sparks Comeback
Over his seasoned career, Paul Pierce has built the reputation of being a leader on and off the court. This mantra rang especially true against the Miami Heat on January 13, 2016.
The Truth nearly tallied a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to their 10th straight victory, a 104-90 come-from-behind win at the Staples Center.
The Clips trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, but No. 34 sparked a comeback by scoring eight straight points as part of a 14-5 run to end the second quarter. That trimmed the margin to just seven going into the locker room, where Paul made sure his team kept the momentum rolling.
“Paul was great at halftime,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He kept saying, ‘We’re going to win this game, guys. I’m telling you, we’re going to win this game.’ And I thought it was really good for our guys.”
The Truth’s enthusiasm jolted the Clips into attack mode, and they opened the second half hitting seven of their first eight attempts from the floor as part of a 38-10 run that spanned over the second and third quarters.
After switching gears at halftime, the Clippers kept their foot on the gas for a 34-17 third quarter, totaling twice as many points as the Heat, who struggled to control the ball.
“We always tell our team: Your offense will always fail you, your defense can never let you down,” Rivers said. “In the first half, our offense was failing us, and it bled over into our defensive effort. And then in the second half, the ball just started going in and everybody played harder.”
Ahead 79-69 to enter the final frame, Paul, whose nine rebounds marked a season-high, was no longer needed on the court. The second unit closed out the game strong, and point guard Chris Paul was the only starter to see minutes (3:06) during the fourth quarter.
No. 34 was one of four Clippers starters to score in double figures, as the team stepped up in the absence of center DeAndre Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin.
The big man returned two games later after missing time with pneumonia, while Griffin’s torn left quadricep and later suspension sidelined him until April.
Great win tonight Dj Blake get better fellas we need y'all
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 14, 2016
With Pierce starting at the power forward spot, the Clippers continued to roll — even after seeing their longest winning streak of the season snap at 10. They lost just seven games through January and February before hitting a slump in March, a month they finished .500 with an 8-8 mark.
The Clips found their stride again in April, winning six straight as they marched toward their fifth straight postseason appearance.