Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Pierce
One of the few items missing from Paul Pierce‘s repertoire is the lack of a trademark celebratory gesture. In more than 14 years in the NBA, Pierce has offered little along the lines of Jason Terry‘s “Jet” flight or Kevin Garnett‘s vicious chest-pound. He has nothing as subtle as LeBron James‘ superhero pose or as unconcealed as Russell Westbrook‘s primal yell. Whenever he has hit a big shot, Pierce has just sort of gone with whatever seemed fitting at the time, from Tebowing to dodging a flying Nate Robinson. After drilling a step-back jump shot in the face of Tyson Chandler on Monday, though, Pierce needed to do something to capture the moment. In some circles, sending home the dagger mere steps from where the endlessly annoying Spike Lee was sitting would be enough of a statement. Not this time. So, as Pierce backpedaled down the court, he put two fingers to his lips, puckered his lips and blew a kiss. He may have been wishing the crowd at Madison Square Garden a safe trip home or just kissing the Knicks goodbye for this particular night. Then again, maybe he was expressing his affection for Carmelo Anthony, his perfect contrast in style and substance. Pierce and Anthony probably are not about to invite each other over for tea and strumpets, but as Monday’s edition of the NBA’s best rivalry reminded us, these two professional scorers might just be the perfect foils. Pierce, the aging champion, and Anthony, the idealized scorer who so far has fallen short of team glory, squared off in a showdown Pierce’s Celtics won 102-96 in a playoff-like atmosphere. As they often do, the two stars personified the difference between their two teams. For most of the first half, even as Anthony struggled with his shot, the Knicks made scoring look easy. They went 10-for-17 from downtown, making as many 3-pointers as Boston attempted, and while the Celtics actually shot a better percentage, it was clear which team needed to work harder for its baskets. With Rajon Rondo serving a one-game suspension, the Celtics’ offense took on Pierce’s personality: herky-jerky while somehow still effective. To get a sense of what we mean, take a look at the highlight videos from each scorer’s career below. Pierce is effective, but agonizing to watch. Celtics coach Doc Rivers says Pierce’s shot release is so inconsistent, he does not even try to read the ball out of Pierce’s hands. In the videos above, did you notice how easy Anthony makes it all look, while Pierce looks like he snaps a tendon or suffers some other type of horrible injury on every play? His 6-for-26 performance against the Celtics aside, Anthony may be the one player in the league who can give Kevin Durant a run for his money as the NBA’s most perfect scorer. There is no weakness in his offensive game. He possesses a perimeter, midrange and post game at or above the level of every other player today. He is a more accurate long-range shooter than sharpshooters like Mike Miller and Ryan Anderson. He shoots a better percentage from 10 to 15 feet than all but 14 players shoot overall. He is more effective on the block than Durant, despite being two inches shorter. There is virtually no way Anthony cannot score the ball. And that might be his ultimate failing. Like the Knicks’ first-half shooting on Monday, at times offense seems to come too easy for Anthony. His short jumper in the third quarter looked so smooth and effortless, it was tempting to forget that it was his only make in five tries in the quarter. Some might say that such a detached style is difficult to maintain when the going gets tough. We won’t go that far, since Anthony has had some huge fourth quarters for New York this season. We will, however, point out that one player scored four buckets in the last 8:16 on Monday, and one scored zero. Guess who each player was. The Celtics and Knicks meet three more times this season, with two of those games at the TD Garden. Anthony and the Knicks have been the team on the rise this season, while Pierce and the Celtics spent most of the season thus far in steady decline. On Monday, though, the Celtics announced that the heat of the rivalry still burns — and that Pierce, at 35, can still hold his own in a scoring battle with anyone. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos will franchise tag Demaryius Thomas

Marshawn Lynch on final SB play: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers acquire Keith Yandle from Coyotes

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss

Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

WATCH: Sidney Crosby gets leveled in open-ice hit

PHOTO: Pacquiao has message for Mayweather with t-shirt?

Nuggets break team huddle with countdown to end of season

WATCH: James Harden kicks LeBron in the groin

Jim Harbaugh tells Madonna he respects her toughness

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers get Yandle from Coyotes

Harbaugh respects Madonna's grit

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.