May 19, 2008

Witness This! Pierce and LeBron Duel; Celtics Advance To Conference Finals: The Boston Celtics needed every bit of their storied history to turn back LeBron James. Paul Pierce scored 41 points and the Celtics held off the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-92 yesterday in a pulsating Game 7 of the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference semifinals.

posted by BornIcon to basketball at 06:17 AM - 19 comments

What's up with the link - wire story on the Ottawa Citizen web site? Seriously? Bob Ryan, arguably the best chronicler of the Celtics ever, had a good column today about the game. I was most struck by this passage about Pierce's place in the Celtic pantheon: Every once in a while Pierce reminds us that he is the greatest pure scoring machine in Celtics history. Many old-timers bristle when you say that, citing John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, or whomever. But it just happens to be the truth. He can get his own shot, which is a major plus. He is an extremely proficient, highly ambidextrous, driver. He takes a lot of free throws. He is a constant 3-point threat. And he is the best fast break finisher the team has ever had. No argument. Truth's secret, according to Ryan, Doc and LeBron: his footwork. Boston's radio airwaves were filled with negativity this morning, as the nattering nabobs looked forward to the Detroit series with doom and gloom. Keep things in perspective, people! One year ago, Celtics fans were praying for the right bounce from a ping-pong ball. Now they get to watch their team vanquish LeBron, despite a 45-point barrage. A team full of hapless rookies has been replaced by canny veterans who know how to make plays. The C's are one of the last four teams standing. I applaud Ainge for orchestrating this transition, no matter what happens the rest of the way. Back in the praying-for-Oden-or-Durant era, Pierce let loose in a Jackie MacMullan piece, declaring that he didn't want to be traded to a contender, as was rumored, or joined by any more young players, however heralded - he wanted to be surrounded by veteran talent so he could take the Celtics deep into the playoffs. The atrocious losing streak that the Celtics went through last season while PP was injured led many fans to believe the team needed to blow everything up, trade Pierce and start over with Oden/Durant. Pierce thought otherwise. He caught a lot of heat for these comments, but in retrospect it seems that his head was in exactly the right place: [Pierce said] "'That just shows you how badly we need another veteran player. Veterans know how to squeeze out wins, even when there are injuries. Good teams are able to maintain until great players come back. We weren't that kind of team." While he was injured, Pierce said he considered many things, including requesting a trade. "I had so much time to sit there and think about my future," he said. "I'm looking at us losing and I'm saying, 'Man, what do we really have here? Is there hope? Where do we go from here?'" Pierce said he's willing to reach out and sell Boston to potential acquisitions. "I'd love to play with Garnett," Pierce said. I, for one, am very thankful that the ping pong balls DIDN'T bounce the C's way last summer. (And, of course, for the fact that Boston has a friend in McHale!)

posted by Venicemenace at 09:26 AM on May 19, 2008

After Sunday's game, the number 34 had its reservation in the Garden rafters fully confirmed. If there were any doubts, they are now removed. That kid wearing 23 for Cleveland is pretty good too. He might just go somewhere in the game.

posted by Howard_T at 09:33 AM on May 19, 2008

What's up with the link - wire story on the Ottawa Citizen web site? Seriously? There's nothing wrong with that link provided unless you want to quibble about it. Bob Ryan is a hell of a writer but this series wasn't just about Paul Pierce's footwork. This game will go down as one of the all-time classic Game 7's and like Paul Pierce said, 'this game was like a heavyweight fight'. This was one of the greatest playoff games that I've ever seen and I just hope that the Celtics have enough left in the tank to take out Detroit.

posted by BornIcon at 10:33 AM on May 19, 2008

There's nothing wrong with that link, provided Sportsfilter is a scoreboard. Which it isn't. Otherwise? Perfect.

posted by JJ at 11:10 AM on May 19, 2008

JJ, you must have missed the declarative tone. NUFF CED. Sportfilter: There's nothing wrong with that link provided unless you want to quibble about it

posted by yerfatma at 11:36 AM on May 19, 2008

Well if pierce had done more of this phenominal scoring in game 6, I wouldn't have had to hit the blackjack table in Vegas to try to win back the money I lost on the Celtics. Sadly, the table's were about as kind to me as the fighting lebrons that night.

posted by ksb122 at 01:01 PM on May 19, 2008

I think this coming series is the one in which Boston finally loses at home and wins on the road. I think it will go 7, but I'm not sure who I think will win.

posted by holden at 01:25 PM on May 19, 2008

holden, that would be just like Detroit to go into Boston and win then lose at home giving home court back to the Celtics. Love the Pistons, but, I just don't see them winning this series.

posted by drose92264 at 02:26 PM on May 19, 2008

The Boston Celtics needed every bit of their storied history And a fair amount of help from the refs. as he ignites the misplaced passion of Celts fans everywhere

posted by irunfromclones at 03:07 PM on May 19, 2008

James and Pierce both stepped up big for their teams. Of course Pierce had the benefit of having a supporting cast that is actually worthy of a championship caliber team. But that is an argument that has been numerous times for James. This upcoming series will be an exciting one. I have a feeling depth will play a big role in this series, and that the Pistons will be rewarded for actually utilizing the bench through the course of the season. I'll go Pistons in 6.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:45 PM on May 19, 2008

Next year is the year for the Celtics / Lakers reunion in the finals. No way a thrown-together team gets by a veteran team like Detroit its first year playing together. Pistons in 5.

posted by smithnyiu at 05:18 PM on May 19, 2008

If anything, the Celtics weren't getting benefit from the refs. Why the hell am I watching basketball?

posted by jerseygirl at 07:20 PM on May 19, 2008

Yeah, I must have missed the refs helping the Celtics. If anything, it seemed like it was a shittily ref'd game on both sides of the ball.

posted by yerfatma at 07:41 PM on May 19, 2008

And it wasn't just that series. On TNT, they were going through the lakers-jazz series and picking apart the home-court ref advantage with the abundance of clear cut fouls not called.. It's been huge.

posted by jmd82 at 08:00 AM on May 20, 2008

But it wasn't like it was the refs fault that the Cavs, Magic, Jazz or even the Hornets lost. They all just lost out to the better team and are going home to watch the rest of the playoffs just like the rest of us.

posted by BornIcon at 08:07 AM on May 20, 2008

But it wasn't like it was the refs fault Au contraire mon frere. Bad or missed calls have a definite negative impact. At the very least it disrupts the flow of the game, and as we have frequently seen, affects the attitude of players and coaches. At the very worst, bad calls can disrupt a team's momentum at a critical point.

posted by irunfromclones at 12:41 PM on May 20, 2008

affects the attitude of players and coaches Like how LeBron's starting to get that Kobe/ Vince Carter attitude where he thinks he got fouled because someone is breathing the same air?

posted by yerfatma at 02:49 PM on May 20, 2008

Exactly. Home-court ref advantage was evident in the Pistons' series as well, there were non-calls that would have been called almost everytime had the game been in Orlando. The one thing that I have always disliked about the NBA was the incredible lack of consistancy in officiating. Obviously there is going to be human error but that is not the same as star players recieving special treatment.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:58 PM on May 20, 2008

I think the NBA has a huge credibility problem on their hands; they've been hoping for a marquee Finals matchup for years, but I wonder if they haven't been lucky only hardcore fans have been watching for the last 10 years or so. If they get BOS/ LA this time around, casual fans may have a lot of questions about why calls are so inconsistent from coast to coast. Look for a lot of gnashing of teeth on ESPN in late June. YYM, I will enjoy the offensive fouls on Detroit while I can (i.e., Games 1 & 2).

posted by yerfatma at 07:41 PM on May 20, 2008

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