Posted by Steve Aschburner
ORLANDO – It took a three-man crew of referees the better part of a minute, staring at multiple replays, to determine that the Boston player had been fouled and was due not two but three free throws. To get to that point, though, it took Paul Pierce being Pierce.
Heading upcourt after yet another Magic turnover at 7:23 of the third quarter, Pierce caught a glimpse of Orlando’s Jameer Nelson veering over to thwart his break to the other end. So he did a smart thing, absorbing the contact yet getting the ball in the air with a reasonably legitimate shooting form.
The refs looked at the play from several angles before determining that, yes, the veteran Celtics scorer had been fouled in the act of shooting and, yes, his foot was outside the three-point line.
“It’s only a great-player move,” was how Boston coach Doc Rivers described it. “LeBron [James] got two of them in the last series against us. Vince [Carter] does it as well. I don’t know how they do it. They hear the whistle and simultaneously they have the athleticism to grab the ball and throw it before you … I jokingly told on of our guys, I don’t think there’s 15 guys n the league that can do that. But unfortunately Vince is one, Paul is one, LeBron is one.”
Pierce, who scored 13 of his 22 points in that third quarter, hit all three free throws to push Boston’s lead to 55-44.