“I want him,” Pierce told his coach. “I want Shane all to myself. Let me guard Battier. I’m not asking, coach. I’m demanding it.”
Kidd told reporters that he appreciated Pierce’s enthusiasm.
“In the playoffs, you want players who are motivated to take on a role,” said Kidd. “That said, I’m not sure we really need a Shane Battier stopper right now. I told Paul I’d give it some thought.”
Previously in the series, Pierce told Kidd that he wanted to be tasked with guarding LeBron James head-to-head. That backfired on the veteran in a Game 4 loss to the Heat, as James tied a playoff career high with 49 points, shooting 16-of-24 from the floor and turning the ball over just once. Meanwhile, Battier has averaged just 3.7 ppg in the series, below his season average of 4.1.
“I can hold Shane to three points per game or less,” Pierce boasted to reporters after his team’s morning shoot-around. “Coach just needs to give me the chance.”
Kidd said he may still task Pierce with guarding James in Game 5 because “we don’t really have a better option, unfortunately.”
“The key is the rest of the team helping Paul when they can,” Kidd continued. “And also Paul taking a bunch of anti-depressants pregame so he doesn’t quit.”
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