Top 10 Paul Pierce Moments with Boston Celtics
Top 10 Paul Pierce Moments with Boston Celtics
Today marks the eve of the anticipated return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It’ll be the first time they play in Boston since they were traded to the Brooklyn Nets over the summer. The Boston faithful still feels love and adoration for these two players, and their return will be highly emotional. What they've done for this organization will be greatly appreciated. I have already done a memoir on Kevin Garnett’s Greatest Moments as a Celtic, so this one will be centered on Paul Pierce.
The Celtics selected Paul Pierce in 1998 NBA Draft as the No. 10 overall pick. He made an immediate impact on the team and was named captain shortly after. Pierce was the league’s leading scorer in 2002 and was considered the guy who would take the Celtics to the next step.
Pierce had glorious moments in the playoffs in the early 2000s, but he would go through much turmoil with a losing team the next few years. Pierce was thought of as an immature punk who was too ball dominant and selfish to be a winner. He constantly got technical fouls and would disrespect his opponent. However, there was no doubt he was one of the best scorers in the league.
Bitter year after bitter year, Pierce never demanded a trade. He never tried to take his talents to South Beach because his team was unable to win a championship. No, he stuck with the Celtics. He reaped the benefits of his loyalty when Danny Ainge traded for KG and Ray Allen.
As a Celtics fan, it was amazing seeing Pierce mature into the player he is today. He really got it. He finally possessed the right mind of a champion, and it was most likely due to the arrival of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Pierce became a team-player and sacrificed for his team to ultimately win a Championship in 2008.
>It's crazy to think Pierce is now in the same class as Larry Bird regarding the greatest Celtics of all time. Here is a retrospect of Paul Pierce’s greatest moments as a Boston Celtic. It was difficult to pick just 10, but each one will give you a nice trip down memory lane.Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.
10. Clutch Moments
Paul Pierce became such a heroic figure in Boston over the last 15 seasons. His step-back jumpers were crisp and executed at the ideal times. Pierce hit numerous game-winners over his Celtic career. He had 11 since 2004, and in addition he hit some game-winners in the playoffs against the Miami Heat (2010) and the Chicago Bulls (2009). He's not only one the most clutch players in Celtics history but in NBA history as well.
9. 2012 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 vs. Miami Heat
Against the heavily favored Heat, the Celtics were deemed too old to possibly beat the Heat in a seven-game series. Even though Boston did not end up winning the series, the pride the Celtics showed in pushing the Heat to the brink remains special in the hearts of Celtics fans. The Celtics took a 3-2 series lead in Miami 94 to 90. Pierce scored 19 points including a dagger three-pointer over LeBron James' out-stretched arm with 53 seconds left. It was an improbable win in a memorable series.
8. Pierce Scores 46 vs. 76ers in 2002 Playoffs
It was truly amazing how good Pierce was in the playoffs in his young career. This time, Pierce led the Celtics to their first playoff series win since 1992. He scored 46 points on 16-of-25 from the field, including eight three-pointers. The Celtics would beat the Pistons the next round and find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Nets.
7. 2002 Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 vs. New Jersey Nets
At the time, it was the greatest comeback in playoff history. Pierce and the Celtics were down by 22 points in Game 3 against the No. 1 seed New Jersey Nets. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead an epic 94-90 comeback win against the Nets. The Nets ultimately won the series, but it was truly amazing how far the 24-year-old Pierce took the Celtics.
6. 2010 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers
It was yet another year in which the Celtics were deemed too old to make a run. Boy, was everyone wrong. Pierce scored 31 points with 13 rebounds to clinch the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 6 against the Magic. The Celtics found themselves back in the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. Pierce was extremely instrumental in getting the Celtics to that point. The Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games, but it was an unforgettable rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals. Who can forget Pierce's leadership, poise and confidence throughout the 2010 playoffs.
5. Game-Winner at Madison Square Garden
There are so many game-winners that could be mentioned in this slideshow, but this one was incredible. The game was knotted at 116 with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Pierce did his signature step-back, pull-up jumper to go ahead 118-116 with just .4 seconds left. Perhaps what made this moment so memorable is when Nate Robinson jumped on Pierce's back and foolishly fell to the ground as Pierce continued celebrating his clutch shot. Those were two of his 32 points that night.
4. Pierce Comes Back from Injury in Game 1 of 2008 NBA Finals
I believe it was completely staged yet one of most memorable moments in Pierce's tenure. It was Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, and in the third quarter Pierce crashed to the ground. He was carried off the floor then rolled to the locker room in a wheel-chair. The fans were stunned, worried that the injury would cost them a championship. Just a few minutes later, Pierce dramatically returned onto the court, the crowd was rejuvenated and Pierce hit back-to-back threes in less than 22 seconds. The Celtics would win 98 to 88 behind Pierce's 22 points.
3. 2008 NBA Finals Game 4 Comeback vs. Lakers
The Celtics were down by 24 to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The game seemed over at this point, and the Lakers would tie the series at two games a piece. But the Celtics outscored the Lakers 31-15 to cut the lead to 73-71 going into the fourth. The Celtics had their first lead of the game 84-83 with four minutes remaining, and Pierce scored 20 points along with two clutch free-throws to seal the comeback win.
2. Pierce and LeBron Duel in Game 7 of 2008 Playoffs
Perhaps the best rivalry over the last few years, LeBron James and Paul Pierce were in the middle of an epic battle in Game 7 of the second round of the 2008 Playoffs. Back-and-forth they went. Of course he was in a Cavs jersey then, but LeBron won the scoring battle with 45 points while Pierce scored 41. But Pierce hit clutch shots at the end to win 97-92 and eliminate LeBron and the Cavaliers. It would be one of many memorable, head-to-head battles between Pierce and LeBron. Pierce never played as if he was any lesser than James. Oh, and don't forget that lucky free-throw Pierce hit at the end.
1. 2008 NBA Champion and Finals MVP
It was the most important feat of Pierce's career with the Celtics. Boston won the NBA Championship in Game 6 against the Lakers. Paul Pierce was named the NBA Finals MVP and his mission was complete. He, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen brought the first championship to Boston in 22 years. Without this championship, Pierce would not be one of the Celtics' greats. He stuck with the Celtics, and now his legacy is untainted in Boston. Thank you, Paul Pierce!