The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are set to face off for the first time this season on Tuesday night. With the 6-14 train wreck so far in Brooklyn, the matchup has been somewhat under hyped from what we expected.

Paul Pierce (broken hand) won't even be on the court for his first career regular season game against the Boston Celtics. The Nets are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons so far. In a recent piece about the lack of success they have had, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe had an interesting take on Pierce:

Those close to the Nets intimate that Pierce has lost his passion, still stunned from his departure from Boston and the only team he ever knew, while Garnett is no better than a backup at this stage of his career. Pierce won’t face the Celtics Tuesday night because of a fractured right hand and Terry remains out following offseason knee surgery, leaving Garnett on an island to determine the cause and the solution for the disastrous start.

Washburn does not name a source on his comments about Pierce. I just don't see where the passion has been lost. It's easy to say a player no longer has his fire when he is on the sideline with a broken hand, but I saw a very determined Paul Pierce on Nets media day and in each interview since then.

Sure his numbers are down, lets see how Pierce finishes the season out though. Media day for Pierce was focused on the new culture he and Kevin Garnett were going to bring to Brooklyn, a winning culture. So far it has not happened, but I do not think the Nets issues, especially Pierce's, have seemed to be mental.

Their roster is in shambles right now, and they may have the worst head coach in the NBA in Jason Kidd. Here's Garnett on the injury situation:

“Let me say something to y’all, we’re playing, we have a lot of guys coming in asking a lot of them, new system, we’re changing things on the fly,” he said. “Jason’s putting in a lot of new stuff since Lawrence has left and on top of that, guys’ minutes, guys who are not usually playing a lot of minutes are having a lot of responsibility of playing big minutes and asking a lot of those minutes.
“We don’t have Kirilenko, we don’t have Paul, we don’t have Deron, we just got Brook [Lopez] back. Chemistry just doesn’t snap and wave the magic wand and say [voila]. Those things play a big part into this. I’m a firm believer, when we’re whole and we have our team full throttle, that’s what I believe in. Obviously, I believe in guys we put on the floor and we’re going out there and giving an effort. But when you’re playing teams, you want to play as a whole, and that’s what I believe in and I’m not going to believe in anything else until we are whole.”

The Nets can easily still get healthy and win the division, making their terrible start something to be forgotten by the time the playoffs role around. No doubt they will need leaders like Pierce and Garnett to keep it together mentally and lead with their passion for the game if they are to turn things around though.

What do you guys think, is Paul checking out on the Nets?

UPDATE: Pierce practiced today and could face the Celtics tomorrow night. Seems like he has his passion back...

Source: Gary Washburn, Boston Globe

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Julian Edlow 12/09/2013 11:05:00 AM Edit
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