Pierce in deciding games

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Pierce in deciding games

Not much to add leading up to tomorrow night's game. The Celtics have spent the last five months in many ways, the last five years building up to this moment. Now, 48 minutes will tell the difference between a once-unimaginable berth in the Eastern Conference Finals and the end of an era.

Crazy, crazy stuff.

In the aftermath of Game 6, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett received a lot of attention for their uneven performances, and deservedly so. The two have carried the Celtics for the majority of the postseason, and for both to simultaneously play so poorly in a such a pivotal game they deserved every ounce of criticism. And if neither can step up tomorrow than the same depressing conversation from these last two days will be magnified by 1000 and carried out for the extent of the summer. Wah Wah.

But what about Paul Pierce?

The Captain's obviously not 100 percent, and as a result, we've learned to expect a little less. If he hasn't been at his best in any particular game, there's always the built-in "Yeah, but"

But this is Game 7. This is everything. Pierce maybe a little gimpy but he'll have plenty of time to rest if the Celtics fall short. They could really use a vintage PP performance.

Anyway, I was thinking: Over the course of his career, how has Pierce actually fared in deciding games?

Turns out this will be the eighth deciding game of the Truth's career. He's played in six previous Game 7s, and one Game 5. And here's how he's done:

June 17, 2010: Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

Pierce: 45 minutes, 18 points, 10 rebounds

Celtics lose, 83-79.

May 17, 2009: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics

Pierce: 38 minutes, 16 points, two rebounds

Celtics lose, 101-82

May 2, 2009: Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics

Pierce: 43 minutes, 20 points, nine rebounds

Celtics win, 109-99

May 4, 2008: Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics
Pierce: 32 minutes, 22 points, eight rebounds

Celtics win, 99-65

May 18, 2008: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics
Pierce: 43 minutes, 41 points, four rebounds

Celtics win, 97-92

May 7, 2005: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics
Pierce: 36 minutes, 19 points, seven rebounds

Celtics lose, 97-70

May 3, 2002: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
Pierce: 44 minutes, 46 points, four rebounds

Celtics win, 120-87.

So that's seven games, and a 4-3 record for the Celtics.

An average of 26 points and 6.2 rebounds a night for Pierce.

If the C's can get that tomorrow, it's on to Miami.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Celtics look to end Cavs' recent mastery against them

Celtics look to end Cavs' recent mastery against them

BOSTON – As the reigning NBA champs, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is well-versed on the what constitutes a big game.
 
Tonight’s matchup against the Celtics?
 
Yup, it’s a big one.
 
Boston (38-22) comes into tonight’s game with the fourth-best record in the NBA and sits in the No. 2 spot in the East, trailing the Cavs (41-17) by four games.
 
While the Celtics have lost three of their past four, they are still in the middle of a great run in which they have won 12 of their past 16.
 
“They’re playing great basketball,” said Lue, a former Celtics assistant coach. “It’s a big game; [numbers] one and two. We win tonight, we have the tiebreaker on them, a little bit more cushion. It’s going to be a good game for us.”
 
It certainly hasn’t been for the Celtics, losing to the Cavs in each of their past three meetings.
 
And in those games, Boston has given up at least 120 points in each matchup. Despite their struggles defensively against the Cavs, Boston lost the past two meetings by just six points each.
 
Against the top-four teams in the East surrounding them (Cleveland, Washington, Toronto and Atlanta), Boston has a record of just 3-8.
 
Despite the outcomes, the Celtics have shown a tendency to play with greater focus and overall effort against the Cavs, something LeBron James says he sees on a night-in, night-out basis.
 
“I think the whole NBA plays hard and they’re [Celtics] one of the teams that does that as well,” James said. “It’s always competitive every night you step on an NBA court.”
 
You would think that the competitive juices would be flowing even greater tonight considering tonight’s game features the top two teams in the East.
 
Isaiah Thomas has made no secret about paying close attention to the NBA standings.
 
LeBron James?
 
Not so much.
 
“Not me personally,” James said. “It’s all about me; it’s about our team, our process. We come out and play our game every night, then things like that take care of itself.”
 

 
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Cavs

WATCH: Celtics vs. Cavs

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