I had two thoughts when Paul Pierce came back from his knee injury last night.
1. Wow, the Celtics are going to win this game
2. Uggh, someone is going to call him Willis Reed
I was right on both accounts. I was surprised, however, that it was Mark Jackson who brought up Willis. You would think someone born and bred in New York, who has a personal relationship with Reed, would resist such an easy, yet fundamentally flawed, comparison.
Yes, they both got hurt during an NBA Finals game, and recieved rousing ovations upon their return to the court. That’s where the similarities end.
Pierce was injured during Game 1. Reed’s return came during a deciding Game 7. Pierce missed a few minutes of action. Reed missed all of Game 6. Reed’s re-emergence from the tunnel lifted the spirits of a fanbase, and spooked the entire Lakers team, including Wilt Chamberlain. I don’t think Lamar Odom noticed that Pierce was missing.
Was Pierce the main reason that the Celts are up 1-0 in the series? Sure, I’ll give you that. But will this be something we remember 50 years from now as a defining moment in league history? Not a chance.