Valley of the Suns Says Goodbye to The Truth

Feb 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce (right) moves the ball defended by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce (right) moves the ball defended by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

After a distinguished 19-year career in the NBA, Paul Pierce, ‘The Truth,’ is retiring, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, amazing skills, and an incredible drive to compete.

Pierce leaves a potential Hall of Fame legacy behind with an NBA Championship that includes a Championship MVP, as well as ten All-Star appearances, worthy of recognition and remembrance (also for at least a time there was an argument that he was the best player in the world).

But since this is a Suns blog, I wanted to take a look back at a few of the games that Pierce played against the Suns in his career, and cover his stats vs Phoenix all-time:

Career stats v Suns

Games: 35

Starts: 32

Wins: 17

Losses: 18

Minutes: 1189 (34.0)

Points: 677 (19.3)

Rebounds: 196 (5.6)

Assists: 98 (2.8)

FG%: 229-532 (43.0%)

3PT: 57-158 (36.1%)

FT%: 162-199 (81.4%)

Stls: 39 (1.1)

Blks: 23 (.66)

Tov: 102 (2.9)

PF: 83 (2.4)

Pierce’s First Game:

Paul Pierce’s rookie season came in the 1998-99 lockout-shortened 50-game year with a schedule that didn’t put the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics together. So his first game against the Suns came the following season on January 28, 2000.

At the time the Boston Celtics were one of the league’s worst defensive teams, yet the Suns, who would go on to win 53 games, struggled to score as Boston won late, 91-88. Paul Pierce, who was returning from a hamstring injury, led the Celtics with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. It was a Pierce pass to Tony Battie who hit a 10-footer with 15.9 seconds remaining to give Boston a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jason Kidd, who had been mired in a long shooting slump, instead of taking the shot himself, attempted to pass the ball with 5 seconds remaining that Celtics guard Kenny Anderson deflected and stole, sealing Boston’s victory.

(Game info from the Arizona Republic, January 29, 2000).

Pierce’s Best Game:

Just one season later, Paul Pierce was already a dominant player and league-wise star.

On March 15, 2001, Pierce was on a tear. After dropping 42 points (his career-high) on the Los Angeles Lakers in a 5 point loss two nights prior, Pierce came into Phoenix and dropped an identical 42. Beginning with the Lakers game, over his next seven games Pierce would score at least 40 four times, and average 36.6 points on 52.5% shooting and 39.6% from three, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks.

Versus Phoenix, the Suns held a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, although they were unable to hold on and Boston swung the pendulum clear the other direction by taking an 18-point lead by the third quarter. Pierce scored 14 points in the second quarter to lead Boston into reversing their big deficit, but it was an 11-point third quarter that included a 4-point play that propelled them to the huge Boston lead which Phoenix was never able to overcome.

(Game info from the Arizona Republic, March 16, 2001).

Pierce’s Last Game:

By this year Pierce was already a shell of his former explosive self. Missing most of the season due to varying injuries, Pierce was unavailable in the Los Angeles Clippers’ first three games against Phoenix. He was able to play in the last one, however, on March 30, appearing for 9:41, finishing with 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 turnover.

The Clippers, led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul who combined for 60 points, held off the young Suns for their 46th victory on the season. Devin Booker finished with 33 points and 9 assists, while Tyler Ulis scored 16 with 13 assists.

(Game info from

The Clippers were, of course, on their way to a playoff appearance, finishing 4th in the Western Conference, and would face off against the Utah Jazz. In the series Pierce averaged just 3.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and .3 blocks. Both the stat line and series result was certainly not how Pierce would have preferred to ride off into the sunset, but ride off he has, and into retirement he will now officially enter.

From all of us here at Valley of the Suns, we salute you, Paul Pierce. We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors, and thank you for the memories and most specifically your highly competitive play against Phoenix.

If only the Suns could have snuck past the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010 and reached the NBA Finals, we would actually had up to seven additional games against Paul Pierce to write about and cherish, and who knows – maybe that would have been the Suns team to finally reach the top of the mountain and win it all.