Paul Anthony Pierce (born October 13, 1977) is an American former professional basketball player who played 19 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently an analyst on ESPN's NBA Countdown.
Pierce was a high school McDonald's All-American and earned consensus first-team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas. After being chosen by the Boston Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft, Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with Boston. Pierce's nickname, "The Truth", was given to him by Shaquille O'Neal in March 2001. He starred as captain of the Celtics, earning 10 All-Star selections and becoming a four-time All-NBA team member. Pierce combined with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007 to form a "Big Three" that led Boston to two NBA Finals and an NBA championship in 2008. Pierce was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 2008. Along with Larry Bird and John Havlicek, Pierce is one of only three players to have scored more than 20,000 career points with the Celtics.
In July 2013, Pierce was traded to the Brooklyn Nets along with teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. He signed with the Washington Wizards as a free agent in 2014. After one season with the Wizards, Pierce reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and signed with the Clippers. He spent two seasons with the Clippers before retiring in 2017. On July 17, 2017, the Celtics signed Pierce to a contract, enabling him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.
Pierce with the Celtics in 2008
|Born||October 13, 1977|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Inglewood (Inglewood, California)|
|NBA draft||1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|2015–2017||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||26,397 (19.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||7,527 (5.6 rpg)|
|Assists||4,708 (3.5 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Pierce was born and raised in Oakland, California. His family later moved to Inglewood, California, where he attended Inglewood High School. He was cut from Inglewood High's varsity basketball team his freshman and sophomore years, and seriously thought about transferring before spending extra time in the gym and becoming the star of the team by the end of his junior year. Pierce went on to participate in the 1995 McDonald's All-American Game alongside future NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, and Antawn Jamison, and was a contestant in the game's Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Carter. He grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan and dreamed of playing for the team.
Pierce spent three years at Kansas between 1995 and 1998. He earned honorable mention All-Big Eight honors and was selected second team Freshman All-American by Basketball Weekly. He was also honored as the Big Eight Co-Freshman of the Year with Colorado's Chauncey Billups. During summer of 1996, Pierce earned a spot on the roster of the USA's Under 22 team and helped USA go unbeaten in the World Championship-qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico. As a sophomore, Pierce captured the first of two Big 12 Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player awards after averaging 21.7 points and guiding Kansas to the inaugural tournament championship.
As a junior in 1997–98, Pierce won Most Valuable Player honors in both the Preseason NIT and the Big 12 Conference Tournament. He was selected First Team All-Big 12 Conference by both the AP and Coaches, and was named Associated Press First Team All-American and a finalist for the 1998 John Wooden and Naismith awards. He scored 777 points as a junior—the fifth-most single-season point total in Jayhawks history. He ranks as the fifth-leading scorer in Kansas history (1,786 points) and 11th on the all-time rebounds list (676).
Pierce left the University of Kansas following his junior season and entered the 1998 NBA draft.
Pierce was selected with the 10th overall pick in 1998 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, a team he despised growing up. A starter from the get-go, he scored 19 or more points in 10 of his first 11 contests, and was on his way to being one of the best young players in the game. For the year, he averaged 16.5 points and finished third in the voting for Rookie of the Year honors. In his second season, he raised his scoring average to 19.5 points per game, and was turning into one of the elite offensive players in the NBA. By his third season in the league, Pierce was ready for a breakout year. In the 2000–01 season, Pierce appeared in 82 games (all starts), averaging 25.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.68 steals in 38.0 minutes. He led the Celtics and finished eighth in the league in points per game, fourth in total points (2,071). He was named NBA Player of the Month for March 2001 after averaging 30.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.60 steals for the month.
In the 2001–02 season, Pierce was named Eastern Conference Co-Player of the Month twice, for December and April. That season, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 3 of the conference finals, the Celtics pulled off the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history, with Pierce scoring 19 of his 28 points in the final 12 minutes as Boston overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets 94–90. The win gave the Celtics a 2–1 advantage in the series; however, the Nets went on to win the series in six games.
From 2002 to 2006, Pierce made the All-Star team every season. He led the league in total points (2,144) in 2002 and was an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2002 and 2003. He was also selected as a member of the US national team in 2002 and played in the FIBA World Championships. But while Pierce was achieving astounding personal success, the Celtics as a franchise was stumbling. In the 2006–07 season, Boston finished with 24 wins—second-worst record in the NBA—and Pierce played only 47 games due to injury.
Prior to the 2007–08 season, the Celtics acquired the services of fellow NBA All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The pair combined with Pierce to form a "Big Three". The Celtics completed the largest single-season turnaround in NBA history, with the "Big Three" leading Boston to 66 wins in the regular season, a 42-game improvement. However, the team struggled initially in the playoffs. The Atlanta Hawks took them to seven games in the first round, as did the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals. In Game 7 of their series against the Cavaliers, Pierce racked up the second most Game 7 points in franchise history with 41 as the Celtics edged the Cavaliers to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics went on to defeat the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning two road games.
On June 5, 2008, in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Pierce was injured in the third quarter and was carried off the court in serious pain. However, he came back to the court only a few minutes later to spark the Celtics with 15 points in the third quarter en route to a 98–88 victory. Pierce later admitted that he was not, in fact, injured, but simply had to use the bathroom. He went on to lead the Celtics to their 17th championship with a 4–2 series victory over the Lakers. Pierce was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after averaging 22 points per game over the six-game series.
Not long after winning the championship, Pierce was asked, "Is Kobe [Bryant] really the best player in the world?" Pierce responded by saying, "I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself." The quote drew minor controversy.
Pierce and the Celtics looked to repeat as world champions during the 2008–09 NBA season. Pierce missed only one game the entire season and led the team in scoring. He was named to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game and for the first time to the All-NBA Team Second Team. Despite Pierce's success, with Kevin Garnett injured, the Celtics lost in the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
In game 3 of the first round between the Celtics and Miami Heat in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, Pierce hit a 21-foot jumper at the buzzer to beat Miami 100–98, and give the Celtics a 3–0 series lead. The Celtics went on to win that series, and also defeated the heavily favored Cavaliers in the second round. They faced the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, and beat them in 6 games to advance to their second Finals appearance in the Big 3 era. They faced off against the Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, and took a 3–2 lead heading back to Los Angeles. However, in spite of Rasheed Wallace more than making up for the loss of injured center Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics were blown out in game 6 and lost a 13-point second half lead in game 7, losing the deciding game 83–79.
On June 29, 2010, Pierce opted out of his contract and invoked his early termination clause to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2010. However, on July 2, Pierce and the Celtics verbally agreed to a four-year extension keeping him in Boston through the 2013–14 season.
On November 3, 2010, during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce scored his 20,000th career point on a free throw, becoming the third player in Celtics history to reach that milestone solely in a Celtics uniform. The Celtics finished the season with the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and swept the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Celtics took on the Miami Heat and their big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Celtics lost to Miami, who eventually moved on to the NBA Finals, in five games.
On February 7, 2012, during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Pierce scored fifteen points to pass Larry Bird for second place on the Boston Celtics' all-time scoring list. He was named to his tenth NBA All-Star appearance on February 9, 2012. He then played his 1,000th career game with the Celtics on March 9, 2012, against the Portland Trail Blazers; only Pierce, John Havlicek, and Robert Parish have played in over 1,000 career games for the Celtics. For the 2011–12 season Pierce averaged 19.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game as the Celtics finished the season 39–27 in the lockout shortened season.
In the playoffs, the Celtics beat the Hawks in six games in the first round, as Pierce averaged 21.2 points per game during the series. In the conference semifinals the Celtics faced the Philadelphia 76ers led by Doug Collins. They pushed the Celtics into a full seven game series, but the Celtics won the final game 85–75. The Celtics then played the Miami Heat in the conference finals. Pierce hit a crucial 3-pointer over LeBron James in game 5 to take a series lead of 3–2, but the Celtics lost the last two games, and the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals. Pierce finished the playoffs averaging 18.9 points per game while shooting only 38.6 percent from the field and 31 percent from three.
The 2012–13 season did not go as planned for Celtics, with All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo out with a torn ACL injury. On January 27, 2013, against the Miami Heat, Pierce recorded his first triple-double of the season with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. On February 10, 2013, against the Denver Nuggets, Pierce recorded his second triple-double of the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists becoming the oldest player, in a game of any length, to record at least 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists (previously held by Larry Bird). On March 29, 2013, against the Atlanta Hawks, Pierce recorded his third triple-double of the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Pierce finished the 2012–13 season with season averages of 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game while the Celtics managed to clinch the 7th seed in the playoffs with a 41–40 season record (with one game not played because of the Boston Marathon bombings). The Celtics lost to the New York Knicks in the 1st round in six games. Pierce averaged 19.2 points per game while shooting a poor 36.8 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from three-point range along with 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the playoff series loss.
On June 28, 2013, the day of the NBA draft, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets reached a deal to trade Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry for future first-round picks in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 drafts and Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans. The deal was completed on July 12, 2013. Brooklyn also received D. J. White. Pierce convinced Garnett to waive his no-trade clause so that the deal could come to fruition. At an introductory press conference with Garnett and Terry following the trade, Pierce stated, "We are championship driven... We made a lot of money in our careers. We have won a number of awards. At this point right now, we are about winning a championship. Brooklyn gives us the best opportunity."
In 2013–14, Pierce appeared in 75 games (including 68 starts), averaging 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28.0 minutes. He scored 1,000 points for the 15th straight season, becoming the only active NBA player and the sixth player in NBA history (along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Robert Parish) to score 1,000 points in 15 straight seasons. He passed Allen Iverson and Patrick Ewing on the NBA's all-time scoring list (moving up to 18th in NBA history), moved into fifth place in all-time NBA history with 1,935 career three-pointers made, and had his most steals (86) in a season since 2007–08. On April 11, 2014 against Atlanta, Pierce became the fourth active player (along with Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Garnett) and the 18th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points.
Prior to the season, the Nets were thought to be contenders to win the Eastern Conference. Pierce and Garnett were set to be the supporting cast to Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. After scrapping past the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs thanks to a last-second block from Pierce in Game 7, their attempt to get past the Heat and win a championship fell short. They lost to Miami in five games in the second round.
On July 17, 2014, Pierce signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Washington Wizards. With 14 points against the Atlanta Hawks on November 25, 2014, Pierce passed Jerry West for 17th place on the NBA's career scoring list. Two weeks later, Pierce passed Reggie Miller for 16th place on the NBA's career scoring list with a season-high 28 points against the Boston Celtics. On January 14, 2015, Pierce passed Jason Kidd for fourth all-time in three-pointers made in a 105–99 win over the Chicago Bulls. Eleven days later, he recorded his 2,000th career three-pointer in a 117–115 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. On February 2, 2015, he passed Alex English for 15th place on the NBA's career scoring list with 11 points against the Charlotte Hornets. Pierce finished the regular season averaging 11.9 points per game, a career low.
On May 9, 2015, Pierce made a two-point shot with three defenders on him at the buzzer to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 103–101 and take a 2–1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. He finished the game with 13 points and 7 rebounds. In Game 6 of the series on May 15, the Wizards were down 94–91 with seconds remaining when Pierce launched a three-pointer, hoping to extend the Wizards' season by forcing overtime. The shot swished, apparently tying the score at the buzzer, but the play was reviewed, showing the clock expired before Pierce released the basketball.
On June 27, 2015, Pierce opted out of the second year of his contract with the Wizards to become a free agent.
On July 10, 2015, Pierce signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. He made his debut for the Clippers in the team's season opener against the Sacramento Kings on October 28, recording 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench in a 111–104 win. With Lance Stephenson starting at small forward, Pierce began the season as a role player off the bench for the first time in his career. On December 16, Pierce scored six points against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the game, he hit a buzzer beater to end the first quarter and became the fifth active player and 16th in NBA history to reach 26,000 points.
On September 26, 2016, Pierce announced that the 2016–17 season would be his last in the NBA. In what would be his last game in Boston, on February 5, 2017, Pierce started and played the first five minutes before heading to the bench—it was his first appearance for the Clippers since New Year's Eve. Although the crowd chanted his name in the final minutes, Pierce did not re-enter the game until there was 19 seconds left; he hit a three-pointer to finish the game for his only points of the contest. On April 10, 2017, he scored all of his 10 points in the final five minutes of the Clippers' 125–96 win over the Houston Rockets. He subsequently moved into 15th on the NBA career scoring list with 26,397 points. The Clippers finished the regular season with a 51–31 record and entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. They went on to lose their first-round playoff series to the Utah Jazz in seven games, as Pierce's 19-year NBA career came to an end at the final buzzer of Game 7 on April 30, 2017. In his final game, he had six points and three rebounds in 21 minutes, and averaged 11.1 minutes in the series. On June 28, 2017, he was waived by the Clippers.
On July 17, 2017, Pierce signed a ceremonial contract with the Boston Celtics in order to retire with the team. On August 18, 2017, the Celtics announced Pierce's jersey would be retired on February 11, 2018. His jersey was raised to the rafters of TD Garden in a postgame ceremony following the Celtics-Cavaliers game, as he became the 23rd person in Celtics history to be honored.
Pierce was a member of the United States national team for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, starting all nine games and averaging 19.8 points per game. Pierce was also selected for the United States national team for the 2006 FIBA World Championship, but did not compete because of minor off-season surgery.
Pierce and his wife Julie (née Landrum) have three children; two daughters, Prianna and Adrian, and a son, Prince.
On September 25, 2000, Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back and had a bottle smashed over his head while at the Buzz Club, a late night dance club in the Boston Theater District. He had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage. Nevertheless, Pierce was the only Celtic to start all 82 games in the 2000–01 season. Tony Battie, Pierce's teammate at the time, along with Battie's brother, saved him by rushing him to a nearby hospital. In 2003, two and a half years after the attack, Pierce pledged $2.5 million to help expand the high-tech surgical center at Tufts-New England Medical Center that helped make his recovery possible. Pierce stated, "This is an opportunity for me to give back to the hospital that was there for me when I needed it."
In August 2018, Pierce discussed battling depression for a year after his stabbing, revealing that he dealt with paranoia over crowds and post-traumatic stress stemming from the incident. He divulged this information as part of the NBA's initiative to focus on the mental health of its players.
Pierce's nickname, "The Truth", was bestowed on him by Shaquille O'Neal after a 112–107 Lakers' victory over the Celtics on March 13, 2001, in which Pierce scored 42 points on 13-of-19 shooting. O'Neal pulled Boston Herald reporter Steve Bulpett over and gestured toward his notepad. "Take this down", said O'Neal. "My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is The Truth."
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Pierce won an NBA championship|
The 1998 NBA draft took place on June 24, 1998, at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This draft helped turn around three struggling franchises: the Dallas Mavericks, the Sacramento Kings, and the Toronto Raptors.
The Mavericks, despite having a talented nucleus of Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson in the mid-1990s, had not had a winning season since 1989–1990. By the end of the 1997 season, all three players were traded and it was time to rebuild. With the sixth selection in 1998, they drafted Robert Traylor and quickly traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks for Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity. They then traded Garrity in a package to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash. With Nash and Nowitzki, the Mavericks quickly went from a lottery team in the late 1990s to a perennial playoff contender throughout the 2000s. Nowitzki went on to win the 2011 NBA Finals with Dallas without Nash, but with Kidd.
Meanwhile, the Raptors were a recent expansion team that had failed to win more than 30 games in its first three seasons. With the fourth pick they selected Antawn Jamison, whom they quickly dealt to the Golden State Warriors for Vince Carter.
The Kings, having been a perennial lottery bound franchise, skyrocketed in popularity with the addition of Chris Webber and 7th pick Jason Williams. The Kings went to the playoffs that year and took the defending Western Conference Champions to the final game of their first round Playoff series.
First overall pick Michael Olowokandi from mid-major University of the Pacific is regarded by Sports Illustrated as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. As of February 2019, he is the last top selection to come out of a university that is considered mid-major.
Five players from the 1998 draft class have played in the NBA All-Star Game at least once in their careers: Nowitzki, Carter, Jamison, Paul Pierce and Rashard Lewis. All of them have reached the 20,000 points plateau during their careers except for Lewis.
Carter is still an active player as of 2019, making him one only seven players to play at least 20 seasons in the NBA. Nowitzki retired in April 2019 and remained with the Mavericks for his entire career, making him the only person to ever play 21 seasons with one team.
Seven members of the 1998 draft class are currently in Ice Cube's BIG3 Basketball League: #2 pick Mike Bibby and #21 pick Ricky Davis (Ghost Ballers), #11 pick Bonzi Wells (Tri State), #25 pick Al Harrington (Trilogy), #32 pick Rashard Lewis (3 Headed Monsters), #41 pick Cuttino Mobley (Power), and Mike James (Killer 3's), who went undrafted. Jason Williams played in the league's first season with the Ghost Ballers, but suffered an injury and would be out for the rest of the season.1998 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The Consensus 1998 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The Sporting News and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
In 1998, the Sporting News was added as a contributing source to the consensus teams, belatedly replacing the UPI All-American team, which ceased to exist after 1996.2004–05 Boston Celtics season
The 2004–05 NBA season was the 59th season for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association. The season is memorable when the team hired Doc Rivers to be their head coach for the upcoming season. During the offseason, the Celtics acquired All-Star guard Gary Payton, and former Celtics forward Rick Fox from the Los Angeles Lakers, but Fox would retire before the season. The Celtics struggled playing under .500 for the first half of the season. At midseason, Payton was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for former Celtic All-Star forward Antoine Walker. However, Payton would never suit up for the Hawks and was released shortly after. He then re-signed with the Celtics afterwards for the remainder of the season. The team went on a 7-game winning streak in March, finishing first place in the Atlantic Division with a 45–37 record. Paul Pierce was selected for the 2005 NBA All-Star Game.
Despite their mediocre record, the Celtics earned the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, they lost to the 6th-seeded Indiana Pacers in a seven-game first round series. Boston did not return to the playoffs until 2008 en route to the championship. Following the season, Walker was traded to the Miami Heat, while Payton went along with him signing as a free agent with the Heat will go to win the championship the following season.2007–08 Boston Celtics season
The 2007–08 Boston Celtics season was the 62nd season of the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA). This marked the season powered by the acquisitions of perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the offseason, the Celtics finished with a record of 66–16 and posted the best single-season turnaround in NBA history. They finished first in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, and achieved the league's best record. The 66 wins were also the third-most in franchise history, behind the 1972–73 Celtics’ 68 wins and the famous 1985–86 Celtics’ 67 wins including 40 at home. Kevin Garnett was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year, while Danny Ainge, who executed "the most dramatic NBA turnaround ever", was named NBA Executive of the Year. The Celtics also sold out all 41 regular-season home games.
Their two-year absence from the playoffs came to an end as they met the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs. Eventually, they advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987, where they met the Los Angeles Lakers, reigniting their storied rivalry. The Celtics won 4–2, capturing their first championship since 1986, and seventeenth in franchise history, the most in NBA history. However, they had a far more difficult path to this championship, playing 26 games, the most any team had ever played in a post-season.2008 NBA Finals
The 2008 NBA Finals were held June 5 through June 17, 2008, to decide the winner of the 2007–08 NBA season, and conclude the season's playoffs. The Boston Celtics, top-seeded champions of the Eastern Conference, defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, top-seeded champions of the Western Conference, four games to two in a best-of-seven series. This was Boston's first title since 1986 during the Larry Bird era and 17th overall.
2008 marked the first time since 2000 that the top seeds from both conferences met in the Finals and the first time since 2003 that any top seeded team played in the NBA finals. The Lakers appeared in the Finals for the first time since 2004 and a record 29th time overall. The Celtics appeared in the Finals for the first time since 1987 and second-best 20th time overall.
The 2008 Boston Celtics championship team was famously led by the organization's "Big 3" in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Prior to acquiring Allen from the Seattle SuperSonics and Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster 7-to-1 player trade, Boston had won just 24 of its 82 games in the 2006-07 NBA regular season. The formation of the All-Star trifecta in the summer of 2007 positioned the new-look Celtics as a popular favorite to win the 2008 NBA Finals.
Going into the series, the Celtics had won the most championships of all-time with 16, and the Lakers were second with 14. The two most successful teams in NBA history looked to renew a longstanding rivalry 21 years after their last Finals meeting in 1987. They narrowly missed meeting each other in 2002, when the Lakers advanced to the Finals, but the Celtics, who led 2–1 in the Conference Finals, eventually fell to the favored New Jersey Nets 4–2. This was the 11th time the teams met in the championship round; the Celtics won eight of their previous ten Finals meetings against the Lakers, winning in 1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969 and 1984—the Lakers won in 1985 and 1987.
The Celtics' 66–16 record gave them home court advantage over Los Angeles (57–25). This was the first time since 1997, when the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz for the championship, and the only time in the 2000s decade that an Eastern Conference team had the home court advantage. This was also the first NBA Finals series since 1998 to not feature Tim Duncan (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007) or Shaquille O'Neal (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006).
Rodd Houston narrated the Boston Celtics' championship season documentary on NBA Entertainment. The made-for-TV version of this documentary is narrated by Kevin Harlan.2008 NBA playoffs
The 2008 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2007–08 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Paul Pierce was named NBA Finals MVP.
The playoffs were noted for the Atlanta Hawks' return after 9 years, taking the #1 seed Celtics to 7 games before bowing out. Also notable was the debut of the Chris Paul-led Hornets in the playoffs after Hurricane Katrina and their 7-game series against defending champions San Antonio Spurs, and the Lakers and Celtics' revitalization of their franchises, most especially after key trades during the preseason and regular season. The Celtics ended up playing 26 playoff games (2 games short of a full length postseason of 28), breaking the 25 game record of the 1994 Knicks and 2005 Pistons by 1 game for the most playoff games in a single season played by 1 NBA team. The Knicks, however, only played a Best-of-5 First Round, and so had 2 fewer games to accomplish that feat. Also, the top seeds from each Conference met in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000. The 2008 Finals was also the first since 1998 to feature neither Shaquille O'Neal nor Tim Duncan.
The Golden State Warriors won 48 games, more than 5 of the 8 playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. However, all eight qualifiers in the Western Conference finished with at least 50 wins, thus leaving the Warriors out of the postseason.2008–09 Boston Celtics season
The 2008–09 Boston Celtics season was the 63rd season of the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They started the season as defending NBA champions, where they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, winning their seventeenth NBA championship, as well as marking their ninth series victory over the Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics started the season 27–2, which surpassed a mark set by the 1966–67 Philadelphia 76ers for the best two-loss start in NBA history. This run also included a 19-game winning streak, which improved a Celtics franchise record set in 1981–82. However, the Celtics lost seven out of the following nine games, and eventually finished with a 62–20 record.
The team's star power forward Kevin Garnett suffered a season-ending injury in February. Without Garnett, they lost to the Orlando Magic in the Conference Semifinals in seven games, eliminating them from the playoffs. The Magic would go on to the NBA Finals, their second NBA Finals appearance, only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.2009–10 Boston Celtics season
The 2009–10 Boston Celtics season was the 64th season of the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Celtics finished with a record of 50–32, a 12 win drop off from the previous season. They finished 1st in the Atlantic Division and 4th in the Eastern Conference.
In the playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Miami Heat in five games in the First Round, then defeated the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Semifinals, and finally, defeated the Orlando Magic in six games in the Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals for the twenty-first time in franchise history.
The Celtics made it back to the NBA Finals after a one-year hiatus and played against the defending NBA champion and their rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. In a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, in which the Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games to capture their seventeenth championship, the Celtics were defeated this time by the Lakers in seven games.2010 NBA Finals
The 2010 NBA Finals was the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s championship series for the 2009–10 season. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers (who were also defending NBA champions), and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. The Lakers defeated the Celtics, four games to three, to win the franchise's 16th NBA championship. The 64th edition of the championship series was played between June 3 and June 17, was broadcast on ABC, and was watched by an average of 18.1 million people.The Celtics earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the Atlantic Division. The Lakers won the Pacific Division to earn their berth. The Celtics reached the NBA Finals by defeating the Miami Heat in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference First Round, the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals, and defending Eastern conference champion Orlando Magic in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals. The Lakers reached the NBA Finals by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the best-of-seven Western Conference First Round, the Utah Jazz in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals, and the Phoenix Suns in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals. The NBA Finals were scheduled in the Major League Baseball World Series 2–3–2 seven game format, with the Lakers possessing home-court advantage as a reward for finishing with better regular season record than the Celtics.
Repeated baskets from starters Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest brought the Lakers close to victory in Game 1. A record breaking performance from Ray Allen's eight three-point baskets ensured the Celtics a Game 2 win. Derek Fisher’s 11 points in the fourth quarter helped the Lakers win Game 3. The Celtics won Game 4; aided by the fact that they netted an excellent performance in baskets by the team’s reserves, while Paul Pierce led the team to a Game 5 win with 27 points on 57% shooting from the floor. The Lakers avoided elimination by winning a decisive Game 6 with 24 points contributed by their bench. Although they trailed the Celtics by 13 points early in the third quarter, the Lakers rallied and won their second consecutive championship by taking over an exciting Game 7 aided by late contributions on offense by Pau Gasol and Artest and rebounding. Bryant was named Most Valuable Player of the Finals for his second consecutive trophy.
This was the first NBA Finals to go the full seven games since 2005 and only the fourth since the NBA Finals returned to a 2–3–2 format in 1985. Los Angeles added its eleventh title in that city to go with its five in Minneapolis to move a step closer to the Celtics' league-leading seventeen championships and gain revenge for their defeat in 2008.2010 NBA playoffs
The 2010 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2009-10 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant was named NBA Finals MVP for the second straight year.
For the 2nd time in 3 seasons and the first time since 2008, all Western Conference playoff teams had at least 50 wins. The 7 games separating 1–8 was tied for the smallest margin, also from 2008.
Cleveland's 61 wins in the NBA was the smallest win total for best record since the Pacers won 61 in 2004. The Cavaliers' second round playoff exit (4–2 vs. Boston) was the earliest for the top seed since the Dallas Mavericks' first round loss to the Golden State Warriors in 2007.
Many teams avenged previous losses by defeating teams who defeated them in recent years. The Spurs defeated the Mavericks, who beat them twice in the previous 4 seasons. The Cavaliers beat the Bulls for the first time since The Shot. The Suns defeated the Spurs, who won the previous 4 meetings in the last decade. The Lakers beat the Suns, who defeated them in the first round in 2006 and 2007. The Celtics defeated the Magic, who eliminated them in 2009. And in the finals, the Lakers beat the Celtics who defeated them in the 2008 NBA Finals.
Game 5 of the Magic-Celtics series was the last game played at Amway Arena (formerly known as Orlando Arena and TD Waterhouse Centre). The Magic, who last year upset the top-seeded Cavaliers in 6 after they went 8-0 through the first two rounds, also went 8-0 through two playoff series, only to suffer the same fate as the Cavaliers last year, losing to Boston in 6. The Cavs loss led to the LeBron James decision to join the Miami Heat. This was the last playoff appearance for the Cavs until 2015 when James returned to Cleveland and, along with Kyrie Irving, faced again his common rivals the Celtics and Bulls.
The Charlotte Bobcats made their first playoff appearance in franchise history, and the first in the Charlotte NBA team's history since 2002. However, they failed to win a single playoff game in a loss to the Magic in the first round.
The Celtics-Cavaliers series marked the first time that each team lost a home playoff game by record margins: Boston lost Game 3 124-95; Cleveland lost Game 5 120-88.
The Oklahoma City Thunder made their first playoff appearance since relocating from Seattle in 2008; the team's last appearance was as the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005. Games 3, 4 and 6 were the first playoff games played at Ford Center (the arena's former tenants, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, didn't play a single playoff game in the building). They made the most of their debut playoff appearance, pushing the eventual champion Lakers to 6 games.
The Mavericks would hold the dubious distinction of losing 3 first round series while holding the top 2 playoff seeds. They lost to the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs in 6. They have also lost a playoff series against the Seattle SuperSonics (1987, as the second seed) and the Golden State Warriors (2007, as the top seed).2010–11 Boston Celtics season
The 2010–11 Boston Celtics season was the 65th season of the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Celtics were coming off of an NBA Finals loss to their rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in seven games.
On June 30, 2010, Doc Rivers announced that he would return to coach the Celtics after speculating that he would resign in order to spend time with his family.
With the off-season acquisitions of former all-stars Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal, the Celtics started the year at 41–14 and were on top of the Eastern Conference standings during the All-Star break. However, after center Kendrick Perkins, who was working his way back from a torn ACL in last year's Finals, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder mid-season, the Celtics only won 15 of their final 27 games. Still, they managed a 56–26 record and enter the playoffs as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the playoffs, they swept the New York Knicks in the first round to advance to the Conference Semifinals, where they faced the Miami Heat. The Celtics had defeated the Heat in five games in last season's First Round, after which the Heat had added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade. The new-look Heat proved too much for the Celtics and easily won the series in five games, knocking Boston out of the playoffs. The Heat would eventually lose against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. Following the season, Shaquille O'Neal retired after playing 19 seasons in the league.
The Big Four of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and coach Rivers represented the Eastern Conference in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.2011–12 Boston Celtics season
The 2011–12 Boston Celtics season was the 66th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Boston Celtics finished the regular season with a 39–27 won-loss record, which was the 4th best in the East, winning their 21st Atlantic Division title. Their longest winning and losing streaks were 5 games. The leading scorer was Paul Pierce, averaging 19.4 PPG. The leading rebounder was Kevin Garnett (8.2 RPG). Rajon Rondo led the team and the league in assists per-game with 11.7. The regular season was reduced from its usual 82 games to 66 due to the lockout. The Celtics made a relatively deep playoff run, where they defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the First Round, and the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games in the Semifinals, eventually challenging the Miami Heat, the team who defeated them in last season's Semifinals, in the Eastern Conference Finals. They ultimately lost the series in seven games to the eventual NBA champion.
Following the season, Ray Allen departed via free agency for the eventual champion Miami Heat, effectively ending the Big 3 era in Boston. During his 3 years as a Heat, Allen would help them win a second-straight title the following year over the San Antonio Spurs, and appear again in the 2014 Finals.
It was also the NBA's first time without Shaquille O'Neal since 1991-92, as he retired in May 2011 and played his final season as a Celtic.2012–13 Boston Celtics season
The 2012–13 Boston Celtics season was the 67th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Boston Celtics finished the regular season with a 41–40 won-loss record, which was the 3rd best in the Atlantic division, bringing an end to the 5-year run as Atlantic Champs and 7th best in the East. Their longest winning and losing streaks were 7 and 6 games respectively. The leading scorer was Paul Pierce, averaging 18.6 PPG. The leading rebounder was Kevin Garnett (7.8 RPG). Rajon Rondo led the team and the league in assists per-game with 11.1 despite only playing 38 games due to ACL injury. The Celtics only played 81 games as their April 16 game was cancelled in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and was not rescheduled because it would not have changed any part of the final Eastern Conference standings anyway. The Celtics would go on to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Knicks in six games, marking the first time the Celtics were eliminated in the First Round of the playoffs since the 2004–05 season.
This season would mark the end of the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett era in Boston as they were traded to the Brooklyn Nets during the 2013 off-season.2013–14 Brooklyn Nets season
The 2013–14 Brooklyn Nets season was the franchise's 47th season, its 38th in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and its 2nd season playing in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
After making the playoffs for the first time in six years during the 2012–13 season, the Nets had a busy off-season which featured the hiring of Jason Kidd (who played for the then-New Jersey Nets from 2001 to 2008 and led the Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003) as the head coach. The Nets also traded Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and three future draft picks to the Celtics for all-stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with Jason Terry. These transactions led to the Nets having the largest payroll in the NBA, and high expectations heading into the season. Defeating the Raptors in 7 games would be the Nets most recent playoff series win as of the 2017–18 NBA season. However, in the Semifinals, the Nets would go on to lose to the defending two-time NBA champion Miami Heat in five games.
Following the season, Kevin Garnett was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves (the first NBA team for which he had played) and Paul Pierce signed with the Washington Wizards.2014–15 Washington Wizards season
The 2014–15 Washington Wizards season was the 54th season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and 42nd in the Washington, D.C. area. The Wizards recorded their best regular season record since 1978–79 and secured a place in the NBA playoffs, but despite sweeping the Toronto Raptors in their first round playoff series, they were eliminated in a 2–4 loss in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks.Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the team play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Boston Bruins. The Celtics are one of the most successful teams in NBA history; the franchise has won the most championships in the NBA with 17, accounting for 23.9 percent of all NBA championships since the league's founding.The Celtics have a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who have won 16 NBA championships, second behind the Celtics. The rivalry was heavily highlighted throughout the 1960s and 1980s. The franchise has played the Lakers a record 12 times in the NBA Finals (including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010), of which the Celtics have won nine. Four Celtics players (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards. Both the nickname "Celtics" and their mascot "Lucky the Leprechaun" are a nod to Boston's historically large Irish population.The Celtics' rise to dominance began in the late 1950s, after acquiring center Bill Russell in a draft day trade in 1956, who would become the cornerstone of the Celtics dynasty. Led by Russell and superstar point guard Bob Cousy, the Celtics won their first NBA championship in 1957. Russell, along with a talented supporting cast of future Hall of Famers including John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, and Bill Sharman, would usher the Celtics into the greatest period in franchise history, winning eight consecutive NBA championships throughout the 1960s. After the retirement of Russell in 1969, the Celtics entered a period of rebuilding. Led by center Dave Cowens and point guard JoJo White, the Celtics returned to championship caliber, winning two NBA titles in 1974 and 1976. The Celtics again returned to dominance in the 1980s. Led by the "Big Three" that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, the Celtics won the 1981, 1984, and 1986 championships. After winning 16 championships throughout the 20th century, the Celtics, after struggling through the 1990s, rose again to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen in what was known as the new "Big Three" era.
Following the win in 2008, general manager Danny Ainge commenced a rebuilding process with the help of head coach Brad Stevens, who led the Celtics to a return to the playoffs from 2015. During the following season, the Celtics clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the Conference Finals. This prompted an aggressive rebuild in 2017, where the team acquired All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. However, the pair struggled with injuries throughout the 2017–18 season, and the team was again defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals.List of Boston Celtics accomplishments and records
This is a comprehensive list of the accomplishments and records of the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team currently playing in the National Basketball Association.Paul Pierce (American football)
Paul Edward "Red" Pierce (December 29, 1914 – March 31, 2004) was an American football player and coach. He served as head coach at Sul Ross State University from 1946 to 1951 and at Sam Houston State University from 1952 to 1967, amassing a career college football record of 94–52–7 134–72–9. His Sam Houston State Bearkats shared the NAIA Football National Championship in 1964 after tying the Concordia Cobbers in the title game.Ray Allen
Walter Ray Allen Jr. (born July 20, 1975) is an American former professional basketball player. He played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018.
Allen began his basketball career as a collegiate athlete for the Connecticut Huskies, where he played for three seasons, gaining a reputation as an efficient and deadly long-range shooter. He entered the NBA in 1996 as the fifth overall selection. In the NBA, he developed into a prolific scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks, featuring alongside Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell as the team achieved playoff success. However, the trio were unable to capture a championship, and Allen was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. In Seattle, Allen's reputation as a scorer was solidified; he would break several league records for three-point and free throw shooting. Despite this, a title still eluded Allen, and he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007.
In Boston, Allen and new teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce formed a "Big Three" and had immediate success, winning an NBA championship in 2008. He remained with the franchise for five seasons, before departing in free agency to join the Miami Heat for two seasons. In Miami, Allen accepted a reserve role, emphasizing spot-up and clutch shooting, which allowed him to capture another championship in 2013. His clutch three-pointer to tie Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals with 5.2 seconds remaining is regarded as one of the most memorable plays in NBA history.
Allen's list of individual accolades are extensive; he gained ten NBA All-Star designations, he won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 2000 United States men's basketball team, and he also holds NBA records in career three-point field goals made in both the regular and postseason. He is also considered one of the best shooters of all-time. In September 2018, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
During his NBA career, Allen acted during some offseasons. He is best known for his role as basketball prodigy Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game (1998). Allen's performance as Shuttlesworth was greatly praised by critics, and the name was borrowed as Allen's basketball nickname.