The Boston Herald (Steve Buckley) reports: Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce yesterday insisted that a gesture he flashed during a playoff game was “misinterpreted” as a gang sign, as the embattled forward attempted to quell criticism from a prominent local clergyman irate over the three-fingered salute. “I don’t want to take the focus away from the playoffs. In sports, emotions run high and playing 10 years in Boston, I think Celtics fans know I am a passionate player. I 100 percent do not in any way promote gang violence or anything close to it,” Pierce said in a statement released prior to last night’s showdown against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Banknorth Garden… The hand signal - in which he maneuvered his right index finger and thumb into a circle and raised his three other fingers together - is consistent with a gang sign used by the Piru Blood in Pierce’s hometown of Inglewood, Calif. It’s also similar to the “three’s up” or “B” hand symbol used by Boston teens to represent the Hub.