Celtics-Cavs: That Epic 7th Game

1190922388Paul Pierce has spent a decade in Boston, and during that time he has accumulated enough numbers to rank in the franchise’s Top 10 in the following categories (among others): games played, minutes, field goals, free throws, assists, steals, and blocks. These are the five Celtics who have scored more points than Pierce in his Boston career: John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Bob Cousy. That’s it. Assuming decent health, Pierce will pass everyone but Hondo and Bird next year.

There are a lot of people around the Celtics who are enjoying this postseason, but none seem as happy, or as relaxed as Pierce. His Game 7 performance was legendary even before the final buzzer sounded, and it will probably be the very first thing written about him when his career ends.

After the jump, three more things from one of the greatest playoff games ever played.

1. Eddie House: Folk hero.

No matter what Eddie did yesterday he had already earned a warm place in Celtics’ fans hearts with his Game 6 showing at Cleveland. Through no fault of his own play, the guy had been buried for the first 12 games of the playoffs, and he came through like a true professional. But, when Eddie stripped Wally Szczerbiak, hustled past him to get the loose ball, dove and tipped it to James Posey, well, he became a part of the family after that. With the crowd chanting his name, has anyone ever turned in a better 1-for-5, one rebound, one assist, 15 minute-performance?

2. The Ray Allen watch is officially on. The Cavs paid a great deal of attention to Allen during the first six games, but yesterday they let him shoot, and it didn’t turn out very well. Allen barely saw the floor in the fourth quarter, and it won’t get any easier from here with Rip Hamilton, who never stops running, up next.

3. PJ Brown has probably played in more big games than any other Celtic this side of Sam Cassell. Over his 15 years in the NBA, Brown has been around long enough to have played with Benoit Benjamin and on two different teams with Derrick Coleman. He played against Michael Jordan in the conference finals, and battled with the Knicks during those Knick-Heat wrestling matches in the late 90’s.

PJ knows every trick in the book—witness his effective no lay-ups fouls that don’t result in bench-clearing histrionics and his back taps on the offensive glass—but when he knocked down a 20-foot jumper off an assist from House, in the final minutes of Game 7, he earned his own place in Celtic lore.

Bonus: We all agree that the Celtics are eventually going to have to win a game on the road, right? Yet, here they are, 34 hours or so from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals with the Pistons coming to the Garden. Like Doc Rivers said after the game, it’s just the way they drew it up back in September.