It’s always fun to see previous Boston Celtics legends give their own commentary on their games today. Celtics’ Hall-of-Famer Paul Pierce did just that when he made a rather bold comparison while watching the Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 on May 13, 2022.
In Game 6, Jayson Tatum went toe-to-toe with Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo. While Antetokounmpo posted a statline of 44 points, 20 rebounds, and six assists, Tatum basically matched Giannis’ numbers by putting up 46 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. In the end, Tatum’s efforts helped Boston prevail to tie the series 3-3 and shift the series back to Boston for a much-anticipated Game 7.
The duel between the two superstars prompted Pierce to compare their duel to one he was involved with 14 years ago back when he was playing for the Celtics and facing LeBron James.
While it’s a little odd that Pierce would refer to himself in the third person here, the game in question happened on May 18, 2008, when the Celtics took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pierce went toe-to-toe against LeBron James in a winner-take-all Game 7. While LeBron bested Pierce scoring-wise with 45 points, Pierce’s 41 points were enough to keep the Cavaliers at bay and send them home.
That tweet might come off as a little confusing to younger fans who may not have been around then. Especially since Pierce later faced LeBron in another Game 7 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals when James played for the Miami Heat.
Pierce’s comparison of course had a pretty strong response from Twitter users.
Celtics Fans Took Nostalgic Pleasure in Pierce’s Comparison
Knowing how that game ended in 2008, Celtics fans were more than happy to reminisce about good times. Especially when it came to performances that played a huge role in the team winning its last championship.
Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com had a rather sassy response to Pierce’s comparison, facetiously asking Pierce who won that particular game.
Other Celtics fans reflected on how anxiety-inducing that game was. Pierce’s performance was good enough to keep the Celtics ahead, but LeBron’s performance was good enough for the Cavaliers to keep up to the very last second, making it one for the ages.
Other fans reminisced on how much fun that era of Celtics basketball was for them. Even though the Celtics fanbase is enjoying this run the team is going on, they look back on the days with Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo together very fondly.
Non-Celtics Fans Took Jabs at Pierce’s Inferiority to LeBron
Even though Pierce was simply comparing Tatum’s duel with Giannis to his duel with LeBron in 2008, non-Celtics fans took the opportunity to point out how much better LeBron was compared to Pierce.
Not even the most biased Celtics fan genuinely believes Pierce was in the same stratosphere as LeBron when they squared off. That wasn’t even the point to begin with. Even if Pierce wasn’t in the same league as LeBron as a player was, he was still good enough to trade shots with him during a high-stakes playoff game, much like he did when they duked it out back in 2008.
Other non-Celtics fans pointed out Pierce’s ineffective final NBA statline compared to other NBA Hall-of-Famers that played at the same time as him.
These are strange responses because they’re not relevant to what Pierce was getting at. Nonetheless, what boosts Pierce’s legacy as a player is going mono y mono with LeBron, which helped the Celtics not only move on in the postseason but also helped them with the title. If Tatum does the same after the similar duel he had with Giannis, then his legacy will get a similar boost. At a younger age too.