What You DON'T Know About The LeBron & Pierce NBA Rivalry (Ft. Trash Talk & A Lot of Playoffs)
LeBron James and Paul Pierce might have a serious NBA Rivalry filled with fighting, trash talk, and a lot of games. #NBA #LeBron #Rivalry
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A lot of you probably read that title and went Paul Pierce? Really? We’ve seen Paul Pierce become a unique analyst to say the least, but before this, Pierce was an NBA star and a guy who was a hurdle for LeBron to overcome. They played the same position, the same conference, so they've played 69 times against each other,
This story starts in 2003 with some trash talk.That second game on December 13th, 2003 was...different. As the game is going on and Pierce is starting to get into a groove, he starts trash talking Otis Carter. Otis is the father of Maverick Carter who’s LeBron’s best friend. LeBron considers Otis like an uncle so Pierce and Otis going back and forth definitely rubbed LeBron the wrong way. Pierce commited a hard foul on LeBron and Otis started screaming. Pierce was staring at Otis every time he scored in the second half which was a lot since Pierce scored 21 in the second half and 41 for the game. LeBron dropped 37 for the game, they were going at each other, but not defending each other as much, which will change as this rivalry progresses. Apparently, Pierce told Bron to shut up Carter or he’d go for 50.
Before the start of the 2004-05 season, the Cavs and Celtics played a preseason game in Ohio State. Pierce scores 2 straight buckets on LeBron in the third including a crossover that got LeBron, Pierce then started talking his smack, not right at LeBron, but that obviously got under Bron’s skin. The Bron hit a jumper, stole it from Pierce, and dunked it down. That escalated and they got in each other’s faces. They had to be separated and got technicals. Pierce spit at the Cavs’ bench he would get fined $15,000 for that. That could’ve been the end of it, but here’s where things really get wild. At the end of the game, both teams are heading back to their locker rooms, but in Ohio State, both locker rooms are next to each other. And so in the hallway to the locker rooms, LeBron and Pierce started arguing again. It got so heated that Pierce had to be carried away by his teammates.
In 2006 was probably their best game in the regular season against each other on Feb 6. The Celtics are pretty trash, only 20-31 at that point. The Cavs are 30-20 with LeBron leading. Hey look there’s Delonte West on the Celtics, that’s gonna be fun for Bron in a few years, anyways, this game would become less about the teams and more about LeBron and Pierce going at it. The game would end up going into double overtime. Pierce ended the game with 50 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds while LeBron had 43 points, 11 assists, and 12 rebounds with the win.
In 2008, there was the infamous game in which Paul Pierce fouled LeBron hard and his mom got out of her seat to yell at Pierce. Then James told his mom to sit her ass down. The Cavs and Celtics would meet in the 2nd round. With all the pieces the Celtics had, it wasn’t just the Pierce show anymore. It all came down to that game 7, possibly the best game 7 duel in NBA history.The Celtics win, LeBron ends the game with 45, Pierce had 41.
2012 was an experience, maybe the most competitive series between LeBron and the Celtics to date. It would be a back and forth affair. The Celtics tied the series at 2-2 and the series goes back to Miami. The game is neck and neck and in the last moments, Pierce hits a dagger three over LeBron and yells “I’m cold-blooded, I’m cold-blooded.” Yeah Pierce really did that at 34 years old. The Celtics go up 3-2 and it felt like LeBron was going to lose out again, after making this speech.
Going back to Boston, it really felt like LeBron’s legacy was on the line. And then we got this LeBron. LeBron ended the game with 45 points on 73% from the field, constantly keeping the Celtics away. The Heat won game 6, took the air out of the Celtics push, and the Heat would win game 7.
Paul Pierce has even admitted that it’s hard to let go of the rivalry with LeBron and I can see why. For 14 years, they faced each other on the court in some of their biggest games of their career, Pierce’s career high 50, the best Game 7 duel, LeBron’s historic game 6. They did not like each other, but they have respect for each other. When I first started to look into this rivalry, I didn’t realize how deep this rivalry went. 69 games later and Paul Pierce might be right, he is LeBron’s biggest rival. But what do you think, who is LeBron’s biggest rival? What was LeBron’s best game?