Philadelphia 76ers

Paul Pierce was 'scared to death" when forced to switch on this NBA legend

Paul Pierce was 'scared to death" when forced to switch on this NBA legend

Allen Iverson was an absolute nightmare to guard.

The Philadelphia 76ers legend was one of the best scorers of his era, and his crossover was one of the most difficult moves to defend. Few players could match Iverson's quickness, dribbling skills and ability to finish at the rim against taller, stronger opponents.

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What was it like competing against such as a talented offensive player like Iverson? Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce wasn't afraid to share his honest thoughts on an episode of ESPN's "The Jump" last week.

"I didn't match up with him, but I knew I was in situations in pick-and-roll where I switched out on him," Pierce said. "I'm not gonna lie, I was scared to death -- I could play defense and all, but I knew I couldn't slide my feet with Allen Iverson. Every night when you looked at the 'SportsCenter' highlights, he was crossing somebody up. All I know is when I switched on him, I was gonna give him that ole defense -- I'm gonna let him do his move and I'm gonna let him go. Hopefully I can send him to the baseline because I was not trying to slide my feet with that guy. I didn't want to end up on anyone's 'SportsCenter' highlights. Period."

Iverson's crossover was so good, even Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was powerless to stop it.

Pierce and Iverson only met in one playoff series during their careers, and it was a memorable affair.

The Celtics and Sixers squared off in the 2002 Eastern Conference first round, where Boston emerged victorious in a winner-take-all Game 5 at the Garden. Pierce outscored Iverson 46-31 in a 120-87 Celtics win.

Iverson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. Pierce will soon follow him, and he's eligible for the first time in 2021.

This Date in Celtics History: Larry Bird, Rajon Rondo triple-doubles and young C's on rise

This Date in Celtics History: Larry Bird, Rajon Rondo triple-doubles and young C's on rise

This date in Celtics history offers a couple of triple-doubles and a pair of current young C's hitting their stride in under the playoff spotlight.

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The triple-doubles belong to Larry Bird in 1982 and Rajon Rondo in 2010. Eight years after Rondo's feat, Boston's up-and-coming duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown became the first teammates 21 or younger to score 24 or more points and shoot better than 50 percent in a playoff game.

Here's a look at each, via @BostonSportsInf:  

May 9, 1982: It all looked good for Larry Legend and the C's in a 40-point blowout of the rival Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of the Eastern Conference Finals. Bird's 24 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists lead a 121-81 rout at the Garden. 

But then...

The Celtics would go down three games to one to Philly as they had the year before but there was no comeback this time. Two weeks after Game 1, the Sixers would win a seventh game at the Garden and the "Beat L.A." chant was born. The 76ers didn't. Magic, Kareem and the Lakers won the title in six. 

May 9, 2010: Rondo joins some exclusive company with his 29-point, 18-rebound (yes, 18 for a 6-foot-1 point guard!), 13-assist performance as Boston ties the Eastern Conference semifinal series with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at two with a 97-87 victory at the Garden.

The Celtics chase LeBron from Cleveland (the first time - remember, that was the summer of "The Decision") by winning the series in six. They also took care of the Orlando Magic in six in the East finals before falling to the Lakers in seven. 

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May 9, 2018: Behind 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting (53 percent) from Tatum and 24 on 10-for-13 (77 percent) from Brown, the C's close out the Sixers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semis with a 114-112 win at the Garden. 

The young C's go on to the East finals where they get a Game 7 lesson from old LeBron at the Garden in another farewell performance against Boston for Cleveland. 

Enes Kanter Show Podcast: Idle Celtics at a competitive disadvantage?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Enes Kanter Show Podcast: Idle Celtics at a competitive disadvantage?

With the coronavirus quarantine entering its second month, we've all had our routines thrown out of whack and have been trying to stay busy. That goes for NBA players, too.

On the latest "Enes Kanter Show" podcast, Kanter is joined by fellow Celtics big man Vincent Poirier who had a hilarious response to Chris Forsberg's question about what he's been doing to stay in shape. 

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"All I can say is they call me Vinnie Sex Pants for a reason," the 7-footer from France quipped, putting a new twist on the nickname he gave himself after announcing he was about to become a father. 

Listen and subscribe to "The Enes Kanter Show" podcast here:

Turning attention to their long-awaited return to the court as some NBA teams opened their practice facilities Friday in states that have eased restrictions, Kanter said doesn't begrudge teams that are getting a jump on workouts ahead of the Celtics, who are still waiting with Massachusetts' stay-at-home order in place until May 18.

In fact, even before getting back to work, the Philadelphia 76ers have already talked about preparing for a playoff matchup with the Celtics.

"You can look at it both ways. Obviously, of course, it's not fair one state starts early, one state does not start early," Kanter said. "But at the same time, I don't blame them. Obviously, every player wants to go out there and play basketball so I'm not going to be like, 'Oh, 'I don't want to Philly to practice or I don't want this team to practice.' But good for them, just to get into that gym and smell that atmosphere because we all miss it. I'm not going to be like, 'Oh, this is not fair.' 

The Celtics teammates also run down their favorite celebrity guests on their team Zoom conference calls (Mark Wahlberg? LL Cool J? Ken Jeong?) and Kanter reveals one he's invited to join. It's all on "The Enes Kanter Show" podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. It can also be viewed on YouTube: