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Lasting impression: Pierce was last Pierce with Wizards

Lasting impression: Pierce was last Pierce with Wizards

The end may have come for Paul Pierce, in a more disappointing fashion with the L.A Clippers' first-round playoff exit than last year's Game 6 heartbreaker in Round 2 with the Wizards.

Pierce, 38, appeared in five of six games in losing to the Portland Trail Blazers. He never played more than 17 minutes and never scored more than three points in any game. He never had more than two rebounds, one assist or one steal.

It's difficult to imagine the future Hall of Famer returning to the NBA, limping to the finish line along with the Clippers minus Chris Paul (hand) and Blake Griffin (quad). All those years of championship experience proved worthless. As always, Father Time wins and will remain undefeated. 

According to CSNNW.com, this was Pierce's answer on whether or not he planned on returning for the second year of his deal with L.A.:

For each year the last couple of years, I’ve thought long and hard about walking away from the game. The process will continue this summer as I think long and hard, as I get older in age, talk to my family, see how my body feels. I don’t want to make an emotional decision right now, so I’ll sit down with my family and think about it. It’s just gotta hit you one day. You just never know. You don’t know. Right now, it’s 50/50. I’ll see how I feel when I wake up, if I feel like getting ready for next season. If I don’t feel that feeling, that fire’s not there, it’s going to be tough.

Pierce left the Wizards after one season, his last act being an improbable three-point shot that was a hair late and could've sent an East semifinal game with the Atlanta Hawks into overtime. It was a series in which the Wizards lost John Wall for three games with a broken left wrist and had a serious chance to upset the conference's No. 1 seed.

Those Wizards still got him deeper than the Clippers, who nabbed Pierce when he opted out of his deal and got the Los Angeles native to return home. The Clippers offered him an extra year of security and a better chance at a championship.

They had it in their grasp after a 53-win regular season, No. 4 seed and a winnable series with Portland. Then injuries, which contributed to the Wizards' 41-41 season, caused it all to crumble.

Pierce didn't play a major part in anything. His magic touch was gone as he was relegated to a spot starting role after full-time starting in Washington.

Would the Wizards have been any better on the court with him this season? That's doubtful with 6.1 points on 36% shooting and 2.7 rebounds. In the locker room? Definitely, where they frayed under the guidance of Randy Wittman who'd eventually be fired.

But it had long been time for John Wall to fly and Bradley Beal to try on those big shoes as leaders, and for Otto Porter to get his chance to start at small forward. Let them succeed or fail on their own, and by and large the latter applied to 2015-16, and figure out the next move.

Holding on to Pierce would've delayed the process in D.C. because he wasn't brought in as a long-term option. He filled the gap left by the departure of Trevor Ariza. 

It was a necessary step for both. Pierce had a golden opportunity to play at home with his family, something that was important to him, with his old coach Doc Rivers with whom he won an NBA championship for the Boston Celtics in 2008. 

The right decision was made by the Wizards to bring in Pierce and to accept his departure. It's on the core of who remains -- Wall, Beal, Porter and Marcin Gortat -- to apply what they've learned from their brief time with him. 

If in 2016-17, if the narrative remains "this team misses the leadership of Paul Pierce," then their problems are far deeper than a Paul Pierce who now is a shell of himself. 

After 10 All-Star Games, one Finals MVP and 26,316 points, his work is done. And take solace in the fact that if he never suits up for the Clippers again, the last real highlights of his career that will be referenced for eternity didn't come wearing that logo. 

It came in a first-round sweep of the Toronto Raptors who he called out and then nailed to the wall with big shot after big shot after big shot. Then it came in a game-winning bank shot vs. the Hawks and finally a Hail Mary three-pointer that almost counted at Verizon Center to force a Game 7 -- all in a Wizards uniform. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.

Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.


Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.


The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week. 

That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.


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