LeBron James was all business in festive night for Paul Pierce
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were not about to let the Boston Celtics celebrate too much even on Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement night. The Cavs dismantled the Celtics to the tune of 121-99, the most points that the Celtics have surrendered to an opponent this season.
James was brilliant as usual, pouring in 24 points, with 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Though this was a night to honor one of the greats in Celtics history, James did not want to get caught up in the festivities, acknowledging reporters’ queries only briefly when Pierce was mentioned.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin says that there was no love lost between James and Pierce even with the latter’s retirement.
Here’s how he answered reporters’ questions according to McMenamin:
“Reporter 1: You’ve had a long rivalry with Pierce, was this [the lopsided win vs. the Celtics] one last chance to get a word in?
Reporter 2: Was it special to get a win on a night that Paul Pierce was being honored in this building?
LeBron: We just want to win games. It was great to get a win.”
Such was James’ demeanor when Pierce was brought up. All business.
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted, the TD Garden is the site of James’ greatest accomplishments but also some of his greatest failures.
Some of the highest & lowest moments of LeBron's career have happened at TD Garden. He's shed tears of joy & pain in that locker room. Been embarrassed and emboldened. It's a transformational place for him. Another chapter today.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 11, 2018
James and Pierce were the fiercest rivals with the former’s legacy being measured against the latter’s. Prior to James winning any of his three championships, the road to the NBA Finals went through Pierce’s Celtics.
After years of disappointment, James finally defeated the Celtics in 2011 and 2012, winning his first championship in 2012 as a member of the Miami Heat.
So even if this night was to commemorate Pierce’s career, James made sure that he had something to celebrate as well.