As an NBA small forward, Paul Pierce matches up with the best scorers in the world on a nightly basis. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony — the list goes on and on.

One name that doesn't tend to get mentioned with those superstars is Atlanta's Joe Johnson. But if you ask Pierce, few players are as difficult to stop as the 6-foot-7, 240-pound ex-Celtic.

"He's one of the better one-on-one players in the league," Pierce said. "He's right up there with Kevin Durant, Carmelo. He gets you in isolation and he can shoot the long-range, mid-range or go all the way. I'm going to be assigned to him most of the time so I'm going to have my work cut out for me. I've just got to be able to take on the challenge."

The challenge begins tomorrow night when the Celtics open their first-round series with the Hawks in Atlanta. The C's pride themselves on their team defense, but those concepts will break down if Johnson is able to consistently get into the lane and score.