Time might have run out on Paul Pierce.
It did so in the most literal sense Friday night, when Pierce’s miraculous 3-pointer at the buzzer was waved off after replay in the Washington Wizards’ crushing Game 6 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks.
The loss put a gut-wrenching end to Pierce’s 17th season in the NBA. After the game, the 37-year-old wondered aloud if he’d return for an 18th.
“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don?t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce told reporters, via The Washington Post. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit.”
This series alone was an absolute roller coaster for the former Boston Celtic. Pierce banked home a crazy buzzer-beater in Washington’s Game 3 win but missed a potential game-tying three in a Game 4 loss. In Game 5, he drilled another heroic shot, only to watch Al Horford negate it seconds later with a putback at the buzzer.
In essence, the last four high-stakes playoff games have rested on Pierce’s shoulders. That’s a lot of stress to bear, and the 10-time NBA All-Star might finally be worn out.
“I don?t even know if I?m going to play basketball anymore,” Pierce said.
Pierce has a $6 million player option in Washington next season, but he said he’d consult with his family before making any decision.
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Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images