Paul Pierce

Classic Celtics: Watch thrilling finishes during 'Iconic Moments Week'

Classic Celtics: Watch thrilling finishes during 'Iconic Moments Week'

The Boston Celtics have won 371 playoff games over their storied franchise history -- and a few stand out above the rest.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series will continue during the week of Monday, May 25, by re-broadcasting five more C's playoff games that feature "iconic moments" we still remember to this day.

We'll take you as far back as the 1970s to a triple-overtime thriller against the Phoenix Suns and also re-live some recent heroics during Boston's latest championship run in 2008.

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Here's the full lineup for "Iconic Moments Week," which includes a new re-broadcast every night of the week starting at 8 p.m. ET:

'Iconic Moments' Week

Monday, May 25: Celtics vs. Pacers, 1991 First Round Game 5
Larry Bird returns from injuring his cheek in the first half to lead the Celtics to a playoff victory over the Indiana Pacers.   

Tuesday, May 26: Celtics vs. Lakers, 2008 NBA Finals Game 1
Paul Pierce exits in a wheelchair but returns later in the game to help the C's beat the rival Lakers at TD Garden. 

Wednesday, May 27: Celtics vs. Pistons, 1987 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5
Larry Bird steals the game, literally, for the Celtics in a pivotal Game 5.   

Thursday, May 28: Celtics vs. Lakers, 1984 NBA Finals Game 2
Gerald Henderson steals James Worthy’s inbound pass with 13 seconds left in the game to tie it, and the Celtics win in overtime to tie the series.  

Friday, May 29: Celtics vs. Suns, 1976 NBA Finals Game 5 
In what many call "the greatest game ever played," the Celtics outlast the Suns in three overtimes.

The action begins Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, where Brian Scalabrine will be joined by several key players in these games for additional color commentary.

Here's how to watch:

When: May 25, May 26, May 27, May 28 and May 29, 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and the MyTeams app (except May 25)

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Kendrick Perkins reveals unhygienic origin of Paul Pierce-LeBron James beef

Kendrick Perkins reveals unhygienic origin of Paul Pierce-LeBron James beef

What's with the animosity between Paul Pierce and LeBron James?

We know Pierce's Boston Celtics had some heated playoff battles with James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat back in the day and that Pierce doesn't consider LeBron a top-five NBA player, but is there more to the story here?

According to Kendrick Perkins, there certainly is.

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Perkins, who played with Pierce in Boston and James in Cleveland, joined ESPN's "Hoop Streams" on Thursday to reveal that the Pierce-LeBron beef goes all the way back to the preseason of James' rookie year, when the Cavs opened against the Celtics.

 

"When LeBron was coming into the league, he was getting a lot of heat from players. ... 'The Chosen One?' Wait 'til he play against grown men,' " Perkins recalled. "So, his first preseason game is against Paul Pierce."

"Paul is talking noise to the bench, right? He’s talking big noise to the Cavs bench, and they’re sitting over there, 'Bron and them, they’re all sitting over there. … Paul actually spits over there at the bench, right? The ultimate disrespect."

Needless to say, James didn't appreciate being spit at.

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"It ended up turning up," Perkins said. "After the game, both teams were meeting in the back. Guys was ready to fight.

" ... Ever since that moment, LeBron James and Paul Pierce hate each other. They don’t speak to each other even now, today.”

Pierce and James met in four playoff series over a five-year span between 2008 and 2012, which surely added fuel to their rivalry. (The Celtics went 2-0 against James' Cavs but 0-2 against James' Heat.)

But Perkins' insight explains why there's a different level of hatred between The Truth and The King -- and why Pierce and his ex-Celtics teammates still hold a grudge against Ray Allen for joining James in Miami in 2012.

Paul Pierce takes heat for insisting LeBron James isn't a top-5 NBA player

Paul Pierce takes heat for insisting LeBron James isn't a top-5 NBA player

If Paul Pierce is in the news these days, it's usually for one of two reasons: 1) It's the anniversary of one of his great performances; or 2) He delivered a highly questionable basketball take.

Tuesday night brought us No. 2.

During a spirited debate on ESPN's "NBA Countdown" about the best NBA players of all time, the former Boston Celtics star listed several players who weren't LeBron James.

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"Bill Russell built up the organization in Boston. He should get way more credit than we give him, and a lot of times he gets left out of the conversation," Pierce said. "So in saying that, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Magic (Johnson), (Michael) Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe (Bryant), (Larry) Bird. These guys are all-time top 10 players who either helped build up their organization or continued the tradition."

In Pierce's view, James doesn't belong in that same conversation because he loaded his championship teams with stars rather than build them from the ground up.

"He went and put together a team in Miami, and in some ways, he came back to Cleveland to put that team together, and then he went to the Lakers, where a tradition has already been made," Pierce said.

So, is Pierce really saying James isn't one of the five best basketball players of all time? Why yes, he is.

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"You wanna hear my top five? You want to hear it again?" Pierce continued. "Jordan, Kareem, Russell. And you know who the fourth one is? Magic. Now you know who’s in my top five? Kobe Bryant.

"That’s my top five. Argue with it."

The internet happily obliged, as professional athletes and casual fans alike ripped Pierce for his anti-LeBron slander.

As many pointed out, Pierce isn't exactly an impartial observer: His Celtics had several playoff battles with James' Cavaliers and Heat teams, a handful of which LeBron won.

James also effectively broke up Boston's "Big Three" when he scored 31 points in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, as Ray Allen signed with Miami that following offseason.

So, "The Truth" may have an agenda in leaving James out of his top five -- and the internet is letting him have it.