The eclipsing of Larry Bird on the Celtics' all-time scoring list overshadowed a troubled beginning to the season for Paul Pierce. He has been inundated with congratulations and well wishes for his scoring accomplishment yet just six short weeks ago he was playing on one leg, despite giving the impression he was healthy.

This has not been the normal road to the NBA's midseason celebration for Pierce. It appeared after a ragged start that he had no chance to become an All-Star for the 10th time, and when he was selected but Big Three mates Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett weren't, it was a sign that the league is moving forward. Players drafted in the 1990s are considered in decline.

"[All-Star appearances] are all pretty special,'' he said. "The first time you make it, you're excited that you've arrived as an NBA player and that motivates you to keep going. To make it here my 14th year is a feat. I'm constantly motivated to want to be one of the best players in the league.''