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

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."