The Boston Celtics always seem to have a dragon to slay on their way to finish their quest for an NBA title. Bill Russell had to take out Wilt Chamberlain. Larry Bird had to go through guys like Doctor J, Moses Malone, a young Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson. This year is no different and the dragon is a familiar foe. Once again the road to an NBA title goes through LeBron James and this means Paul Pierce needs to try to take down his old nemesis.
Paul Pierce has always seemed to relish the challenge of going one on one with his younger and more athletic foe. Pierce can usually keep him in check for the most part and that is a big reason Boston has been able to send James and his teams home more often than not. The reasons for Pierce’s success against James are are simple. Pierce is one of the few guys that can create his shot in a variety of ways that even has LeBron guessing. The step back and quick release by Pierce has always given James trouble. Pierce is also crafty enough to score off the drive on the larger and more athletic James. Pierce also has made LeBron work for his shots on offense. Granted the Celtics do give him a lot of help with different guys coming to double him at various points in the offensive set, but one on one Pierce can usually stay with LeBron. This does not mean he stops him from scoring. A freak like LeBron is going to get his, but as long as he works for it and is tired out just enough for the fourth quarter, Pierce did his job.
Since 2008 Paul Pierce and LeBron James have had some epic wars in the playoffs. The duel in the 2008 playoffs in the epic game seven of the second round between Pierce and LeBron was a performance for the ages. Both men went at each other and scored at will. Pierce took on the league’s best player, went blow for blow with him, and came out on top in this first clash. 2010 was another duel between the two with Pierce’s defense of LeBron going a long way to helping Boston upset LeBron and the Cavs. The 2011 playoffs finally saw LeBron best Pierce as the Heat knocked off Boston with LeBron clearly out dueling Pierce.
The playoffs of 2012 are here and once again Pierce gets his shot at LeBron. The banged up Celtics will need another big series from Pierce like in 2008 and 2010. If he slays the dragon this time, there will be little doubt that Pierce belongs in the pantheon of Celtics greats. Every great was a dragon slayer. Bird beat Magic. Russell beat Chamberlain. Can Pierce beat LeBron for a third time and cement that legacy is the question. Remember Go Green or Go Home!!!!!!!!