Who amongst us didn’t marvel at the courage shown last night by Boston’s Paul Pierce, returning from what appeared to be a severe knee injury to lead the Celtics to a 98-88 Game One victory over the visiting Lakers? Well, try the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke, who calls Pierce’s resurrection, “a recovery that smacked more of professional wrestling than professional basketball.” You know, for a guy who seems to be in good (well, normal) health, Plaschke has great difficulty managing paragraphs of more than one sentence.

When Pierce crumpled on the floor after being apparently faked out of his kneecap by Kobe Bryant with 6:52 left in the third quarter, the Lakers led by four points.

When he returned after just 1:45 had ticked off the game clock, the Celtics led by one.

The “Rocky” theme played. The crowd roared. Pierce hobbled out with drama dripping from every step.

He was so hurt, he immediately began sprinting around the stunned Lakers defenders.

He was in such pain, he hit consecutive three pointers late in the period that gave the Celtics the lead for good.

“We didn’t get after the ball on the board and opportunities that were there for us,” said Jackson. “They did a much better job on the boards. That’s the difference in the ballgame.”

That, and this angel that somehow transformed a shattered kneecap into a soaring jump shot into a scintillating victory.

No official word on this yet, but here’s guessing that angel smoked a cigar and answered to Red.

Perhaps you didn’t catch Stephen A. Smith calling Pau Gasol “soft” on “SportsCenter” this morning. Chances are, Kwame Brown’s friends (assuming he has any) have already filled him hin.