LeBron James and Paul Pierce guarded each other up and down the court in a historic duel on Sunday. James won the individual matchup with a game-high 45 points, but the coronation is still on hold as the Celtics eliminated the defending Eastern Conference Champions, 97-92. Though his scoring increased throughout the series, James struggled to find openings in the CelticsĂ˘ÂÂ defense. After stumbling to 12 points on 2-of-18 shooting from the floor in Game 1, James scored at least 30 points in each of the final three games, but finished shooting just 35.5 percent. Paul Pierce hit a shot. Then LeBron James answered. Pierce hit another and so did James. It was like that all game long, two of the NBA’s best trying to carry their teams to the next round. Pierce and the Boston Celtics succeeded, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers. Twenty years earlier there was another thrilling shootout in another seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Boston — Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins. And the result was the same: a narrow Celtics victory that sent them to the conference finals against Detroit. “We both tried to will our team to victory and, just like Dominique Wilkins, I ended up on the short end and the Celtics won again,” said James. “I think the second round of the postseason, Game 7, these fans will finally have an opportunity to forget a little bit about what Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins did and remember what Paul and LeBron did.
|Source: nba.com, yahoo.com, getty | From LeBron_NBA_20…|
Photos Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE via Getty Images. Photos by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images, Jim Rogash/Getty Images, Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images.