Paul Pierce Saves the Celtics for the Umpteenth Time

On Sunday night, the Celtics played one of the best regular-season NBA games in years.

On Sunday night, the Celtics played one of the best regular season NBA games in years. Boston beat the Nuggets, 118-114, at TD Garden—in triple overtime—and naturally, Paul Pierce was responsible for the evening’s most memorable moment. Now in his 14th season, he’s doing things 35-year-olds shouldn’t be doing. With about five seconds remaining in the second extra frame, he drilled an off-balance 3-pointer to tie the score at 107.

Like usual, play-by-play man Mike Gorman’s call was impeccable:

Pierce ended up with a triple-double (27 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists). I’m certainly not the first one to bring this up, but the performance had to remind a lot of Celtics fans of the performance Larry Bird cobbled together in a win against the Trail Blazers on March 12, 1992. He finished with 49 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, and 4 steals. And, as Bill Simmons pointed out a few years ago, “Just remember, the guy was playing with a 15-pound back brace and spending nights in the hospital in traction that season.” Bird, 35 at the time and in his final year, hit a wildly off-balance three to tie the score at 122 late in regulation.

Boston ended up winning, 152-148, in double OT. “I’m sore,” Bird told reporters afterward.

How's this for symmetry? That day, Bird played 54 minutes. On Sunday night, Pierce played 54 minutes.