Monday, May 19, 2008

Pierce vs. James

I have not had a number of chances to watch a full playoff basketball game this year. A few years ago this would have been blasphemes due to my love for anything and all NBA, but my life is different now, with more things to do.

That being said I was able to watch most of the Celtics/Cavaliers Game 7 game yesterday.

In 1988, another Celtics Game 7 semifinal battle, included two superstars trying to will their teams into the next round. It is deemed one of the greatest playoff battles of all-time. Larry Bird's Celtics prevailed, thanks to Bird's 34 points (20 in the fourth quarter), over Dominique Wilkins' Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins scored a game-high 47 points in the contest, but fell to the mighty Celtics. The two combined for 81 points in a memorable battle.

In today's game, the superstar very rarely guards the other team's superstar at both ends of the court. As a coach it makes sense, why would you want to tire out your offensive juggernaut on the defensive side of the ball?

But yesterday, Cleveland's LeBron James and Boston's Paul Pierce settled in for a battle of the ages - as they not only guarded each other, but surpassed the brilliance of the Bird/Wilkins matchup.

Pierce erupted for 41 points to lead the No. 1 seeded Celtics into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 97-92 victory over the Cavaliers. James, however, didn't go down without a fight as he poured in a game-high 45 points. The combined 86 points surpasses that of the Bird/Wilkins duel.

It's something you don't get to witness too often in basketball - two players on opposite teams, totally taking over the game - trying to will their team to victory. But when you do, it's magical.

I fear that the 14 total games the Celtics have been forced to play will hurt their chances against a rested Detroit Pistons squad. Boston has yet to win a game on the road, so a loss in either of the first two games at home to the Pistons could prove detrimental. I shudder of the thought of Detroit making it back to the Finals. Hopefully the layoff will make them rusty - instead of rested.

(Large movie review coming later today)

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