Powe packs punch: Muscles into C’s plans
By Steve Bulpett
Boston Herald Sports Reporter
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - Updated: 07:33 AM EST
It’s fair to say Paul Pierce might have been more entertained than any of the nearly 10,000 fans Saturday night at Mohegan Sun when the Celtics were beating the New York Knicks.
Perched on the pine for most of the second half, a smiling, laughing Pierce was cheering on Leon Powe during the rookie’s 16-point, nine-rebound performance.
“G-Unit,” Pierce kept shouting at his new forward friend, referencing the rap group. “Guerilla Unit. Look out, man. He’s G-Unit.”
The Celts captain was laughing it up and loving it each time Powe won an inside war.
“Look at him,” Pierce said. “He’s a monster.”
When someone suggested Powe-lice as a nickname, Pierce shook his head.
“No,” Pierce said. “He’s a criminal.”
Pierce warned the Knicks’ Quentin Richardson, a Chicago guy, that Powe was from East Oakland and to beware. The statement proved prophetic when Richardson drove into Powe and came up empty.
And when Powe went down hard in the fight for a rebound, Pierce laughed and shouted to the referees, “Hey, see if the floor’s all right.”
Pierce always has had an affinity for tough guys, bemoaning the loss of Danny Fortson years ago.
“Yeah, I like the guys who like to get down and dirty,” said Pierce, who agreed Powe might be a less psychotic version of Fortson.
After his Saturday effort and his 11 points and 15 boards the previous game, Powe has elevated his stature with the team.
“Definitely, he’s surprising people,” Pierce said. “The way he’s played, I don’t think he’s really showed that in training camp. We have a lot of guys, and he hadn’t really gotten the opportunity. He’s one of the last big men to get in there and play, and he’s making the most of his opportunities in the games, and that’s when it counts.”
"You can see it. He’s an instigator. When he’s on the floor, you’re going to have to do something to get the ball out of his hands. He’s a rough guy. He’s an instigator, and we need that. The defensive stuff he’s really starting to get, and the offensive stuff I’m not worried about that much. That will come for him, but even if that takes awhile, we’re seeing just how many other things he can do for us.
“I’ll tell you what does surprise me that I didn’t see in practices or this summer is his ability to block shots. I know he has long arms, but he got his hands on three or four (Saturday) that I just didn’t know he could do. That’s the added bonus. If he can do that, that’ll be great for us.”
For now, the Celts will just appreciate that Powe knows his role.
“I just try to go out there and sometimes be the enforcer,” Powe said. “I try to get all the rebounds. Whatever I can do to help my team win, that’s what I do. Rebounding is all about effort. It’s all about effort and positioning. Whoever is quick to the ball, that’s who’s going to get it. That’s the attitude you’ve got to have. May the best man get it; that’s how I look at it.”
Pierce looks at it with a smile on his face.