Paul Pierce had a legendary career, spending most of it with the Boston Celtics. Because of this, he played in numerous big games over the years, coming out on top in some, while losing in others. However, Pierce still hasn’t watched one of the most devastating losses of his career: the Celtics-Lakers matchup in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Paul Pierce and the Celtics faced the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals
Pierce and the Celtics had just won an NBA title in 2008 when they won in the NBA Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-2. However, the two teams met in the finals again in 2010, and the Lakers looked to repeat after winning it in 2009, while the Celtics hoped to win their second championship in three seasons.
The teams went back and forth throughout the series, as LA took a 2-1 lead after three games, and Boston took a 3-2 lead after Game 5. However, the teams played Games 6 and 7 at Staples Center, and the Lakers won Game 6, 89-67, to tie the series, 3-3.
Game 7, though, was then a close and intense contest the entire way. Boston led 40-34 at halftime and 57-53 at the end of the third quarter, but with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left, the Lakers and Celtics were tied 64-64.
However, with one minute, one second left, and the Lakers up 76-73, Metta World Peace made a 3-pointer to give LA a 79-73 lead. It then became a free-throw game for the Lakers after that, and they ultimately won 83-79 to win the title.
Kobe Bryant led LA that night with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Pierce led the Celtics with 18 points and 10 boards.
Paul Pierce still hasn’t watched the Celtics’ Game 7 loss
Pierce appeared on Showtime’s What’s Burnin recently, and he discussed the Celtics’ Game 7 loss to the Lakers. Over 10 years later, it still seems to be a sore subject for Pierce.
“We was up most of the game,” Pierce said on the July 20 episode. “Fourth quarter, everybody’s standing up. It was just surreal, dude; it didn’t feel real. I really can’t even explain it because every shot you took, it was just like something was on the line. I felt like it’s almost like one of them shots you take at halfcourt of an NBA game, where you can go win $10,000. If you miss, you just feel so down. So, that’s every shot you take in the finals in the fourth quarter.”
He continued: “You just felt so down every shot you missed. And then every shot you hit was so big. I still ain’t watch that game to today, man. That’s tough. I should be sitting on two chips. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.”
That Game 7 meant a lot for those players on the 2010 Celtics and Lakers
When looking at all the legacies that specific Game 7 helped and hurt, it may have been one of the most important games in NBA history.
If the Lakers had lost, Bryant would have only finished his career with four championships instead of five. LA would also only have 16 total titles instead of 17, which is currently tied with the Celtics for an NBA record.
If the Celtics had won, though, Pierce and Kevin Garnett would have finished their careers with two championships instead of just one apiece. Ray Allen would have also ended his career with three titles, which sounds much better than two, and Boston would have an NBA-record 18 championships.
No matter what happened that night, guys like Bryant would have still made the Hall of Fame; the same goes with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen. However, all of their legacies would look pretty different had the Celtics won Game 7 instead of the Lakers.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference