BOSTON — Paul Pierce gave Jason Collins his game ball, everybody clapped and that was pretty much that. A few days later, Pierce’s token of recognition for the veteran center’s hard work was all but forgotten for many members of the Celtics, who were much more impressed with the 40-point performance that earned Pierce the game ball in the first place.
But for Collins, the gesture spoke volumes.
“That was unexpected,” Collins said last week, after he had accepted the ball as an acknowledgment of his defense and screen-setting, which did not show up in the box score. “It says a lot about the type of person that Paul is, that he had a game like that yet my teammates still appreciate what it is I do out there on the court.”
Pierce giving Collins the game ball was a surprise, not only because Celtics ownership had awarded it to Pierce for becoming the oldest player in franchise history to score 40 points in a regulation game, while Collins picked up all of one point, two rebounds and six...