Paul Pierce put together his best game in a Brooklyn Nets uniform Wednesday night, hitting 10 of 12 shots en route to a season-high 27 points, leading the team on a furious comeback that fell just short in their 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards.
Pierce has struggled in recent weeks, sitting out ten days with a broken bone in his right hand and returning slightly ahead of schedule by coming off the bench. But two of his teammates hinted at the idea that Pierce’s struggles before breaking his hand may have been due to him hiding other injuries.
“I think he was struggling there with a couple of injuries, obviously his hand,” Kevin Garnett said in the interview room after the game. “(Pierce) is not going to tell you what’s going on with him. He’s just going to fight through a lot of things. That’s just how he’s programmed.”
“I think early on he had a lot of stuff, a lot of little nagging injuries he was dealing with,” Deron Williams said of the All-Star forward. “So I think he’s feeling a little bit better.”
After shooting well in the team’s first four games, Pierce’s production spiraled in the month of November: in the 11 games preceding his hand injury, Pierce shot just 31.1 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three-point range. Nagging injuries would explain that dearth of production; Pierce missed one game in the middle of November against the Los Angeles Clippers with a groin injury.
Pierce did not want to talk about his own health after the game.
“We come out here and try to win as a team,” Pierce said in the locker room following the game. “It is not about how good Paul Pierce is feeling.”