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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Legend gets in his shots

Larry Bird insists he’s not just being feisty, but he had an interesting response to Tommy Heinsohn’s quotes in yesterday’s Herald stating that Paul Pierce could end up being the best offensive player in the history of the Celtics.

“Are you basing it on the regular season or the playoffs?” Bird asked. “I mean, it’s hard to compare guys that have never been to the finals to other players. If you gear yourself to play six months of the year, it’s completely different than gearing yourself to play nine months a year. My whole focus was trying to gear myself to play nine months a year.”
“The thing is, the playoffs are what make you as a player. I mean, you can sit and talk about players all you want, but until you get in the playoffs and play for the big prize year after year. . . .
“You know, if I wanted to score 35 points a game - if I knew I was just going to play in the regular season - I would have been very capable of doing that,” he said. “But it wasn’t me. I had more talent around me than Paul’s had, and our whole focus was winning championships.”
I love that Bird still has the competitive fire in him. That's what made him the best. There's no one in the NBA history more competitive than Larry Bird. And as much as we can say Pierce has not had great talent around him ever...all players in the end are judged on if they get in the post-season - and what they do when there. Pierce is a hell of a player but until we make some serious noise in the playoffs and/or get to the finals (and win!) with him he'll have that knock against him. Just like many players before him.

Larry sounds a little sour but in my book LB is the best.
 

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no disrespect to larry...i see where hes coming from...but put 2 or 3 hall of famers around paul so hes not getting double teamed every trip down the floor and we'd be able to see what paul is really capable of...its not pauls fault that he has no help around him to get into the playoffs...thats dannys :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
#1AntoineWalkerFan said:
no disrespect to larry...i see where hes coming from...but put 2 or 3 hall of famers around paul so hes not getting double teamed every trip down the floor and we'd be able to see what paul is really capable of...its not pauls fault that he has no help around him to get into the playoffs...thats dannys :biggrin:
agreed but it is what it is. Guys who are/were great who don't have titles (or at least compete for them once in a while) will always have that knock against them.

And you know it's not Danny's fault :).
 

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Causeway said:
And you know it's not Danny's fault :).


eh it felt like a good point to throw a jab in there :biggrin:
 

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#1AntoineWalkerFan said:
no disrespect to larry...i see where hes coming from...but put 2 or 3 hall of famers around paul so hes not getting double teamed every trip down the floor and we'd be able to see what paul is really capable of...its not pauls fault that he has no help around him to get into the playoffs...thats dannys :biggrin:
That's one way to look at it. Another way would be to ask how many of those players would be in the hall of fame if they hadn't had Bird there? Unlike many of the so-called "superstars" in recent years Bird was focused on winning at all costs. Many of the people who post here never got to see him in his prime but take it from me, he was the most dominant player of his time...PERIOD! There were better athletes and better scorers but no one could just flat carry a team the way Bird could.

No disrespect meant towards Pierce, but IMHO this is the first year when he has truly played team ball. Unfortunately the last few games he has been slipping back into the bad habit of driving into double and triple teams and forcing things rather than let it come to him like he has done most of the season. A friend of mine said it looked like Pierce had given up on making the playoffs and was just trying to pad his scoring average. I honestly doubt that is the case given the way he has matured this year but the fact remains that for all his talents he has not shown the ability to make the players around him significantly better. Everyone talks about how Bird played with so many great players but look closely at those players. Parish was considered a bust in Golden State and they were so eager to get rid of him that they let Red make a deal that also brought McHale to the C's. That "bust" turned into one of the best centers to play for many years. Look at DJ, he had a pretty bad reputation before coming to the C's, not quite Ricky Davis bad but he sure wasn't known as a great guy to have on your team. He came to Boston and was a key player on some awesome teams. Walton??? He was considered pretty much washed up when he came to Boston mainly due to a history of injuries, but on the C's he was a key player on winning team. McHale was very highly regarded coming into the NBA but I'd say it was far more likely that Bird helped him reach his potential than the other way around.

The most important fact to consider when comparing Bird to Pierce is that Bird came to a team that had a 29-53 record the previous year and in his rookie season they went 61-21 and made it to the finals. They had more than 60 wins 6 of the next 7 years and Bird was league MVP 3 straight years. I don't think there has been a player since that time to have nearly the impact on his team that Bird did.

Is Pierce the better athlete? Definitely! Is he the better scorer? Possibly, though if it came down to one shot to win a game (any game) I'd take Bird any day. Is he the better basketball player? Nope, sorry!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
However...the question I don't think really is Pierce against Bird. That no question hands down goes to Bird.

But the question is Pierce against history. So far if he were to stop today he'll be know as an amazing offensive player who did not lead his team to the top.

We'll see how it turns out in the end.

But there's no one like Bird.
 

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What Larry is talking about is exactly why Paul has trouble getting the recognition he deserves.
He hasn't been to the finals.
I hope he can get there. The part about "gearing yourself" to play only 6 mos. was a little mean. It's not like Paul sits around saying, well, I'll be done by playoff time......
If we can keep the nucleus we have and get one or two more quality players, it WILL happen. Not just can, but will. Then Larry and Paul can duke it out.

They're both amazing and I was around to watch Larry, and so far, Larry is overall the best Celtic.
But Paul is developing the one thing that Larry had from day one. And that is leadership.

Talk to me again in 3 years.....
 

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Very interesting response. Unfortunately for Paul, he will be judged on his accomplishments and quite frankly it pales in comparison to what Bird has done. Not taking anything away from Paul who is a fantastic player in his own right, but Bird is arguably one of the top 5-10 players to ever step on a basketball court.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Agreed. As good as Pierce is Bird really was at another level. If you have a chance read this on Bird. Some amazing stuff. Here's a little of it:

The Boston Celtics had selected him in the 1978 NBA Draft, hoping that Bird, who had become eligible for the NBA after his junior year, might forgo his senior season-but knowing he was worth the wait even if he didn't. In 1977-78 the Celtics had compiled a 32-50 record, their worst since 1949-50. When Bird elected to return to Indiana State for one more year the Celtics dipped to 29-53, but Bird finally came to Boston for the 1979-80 campaign and sparked one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in NBA history.

The 1979-80 Celtics improved by 32 games to 61-21 and returned to the top of their division. Playing in all 82 contests, Bird led the team in scoring (21.3 ppg), rebounding (10.4 rpg), steals (143), and minutes played (2,955) and was second in assists (4.5 apg) and three-pointers (58).
Although Magic also turned in an impressive first season for the NBA-champion Los Angeles Lakers, Bird was named NBA Rookie of the Year and made the first of his 12 trips to the NBA All-Star Game.
In 1981-82, Bird made the first of his three consecutive appearances on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team-even though he was relatively slow and not the greatest one-on-one defender, his anticipation and court sense made him peerless as a team defender. As many observed, he would see plays not as they were developing, but before they developed.
Coming off the first of his three consecutive MVP seasons, the third man to achieve that feat after Russell and Chamberlain, Bird helped the Celtics to a seven-game triumph against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals. It was Bird's first postseason meeting with Magic since the 1979 NCAA title game, and it was a memorable one. In Game 5, with the temperature inside Boston Garden approaching 100 97 degrees, Bird pumped in 34 points, leading the Celtics to a 121-103 victory. In Game 7 a record TV basketball audience watched Bird score 20 points and gather 12 rebounds in Boston's 111-102 win. With series averages of 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds, Bird was named Finals MVP.
The following year, which saw Boston win its 16th championship, Bird attained living-legend status. He was showered with commendations: NBA MVP, Finals MVP, The Sporting News Man of the Year, and the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He led the league in three-pointers made (82) and in free throw percentage (.896), an unheard-of accomplishment for a forward. He placed in the top 10 in three other categories. He even won the first-ever three-point shooting competition at the NBA All-Star Weekend. The Celtics finished the 1985-86 season with a 67-15 record; their best under Bird. In the NBA Finals against Houston, Bird nearly averaged a triple-double (24.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 9.5 apg). In the decisive Game 6 Bird tallied 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He earned a second Finals MVP Award.

The next year brought yet another amazing Bird feat. He became the first player ever to shoot at least .500 from the floor (.525) and .900 from the free throw line (.910) in the same season. In classic Bird fashion, he proved that was no fluke by doing it again the following season (.527 and .916). And he still managed to average more than nine rebounds and six assists both seasons.
 

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Bird sounds pissed about what Tommy said, but he's right. He's definitely on another level.
 

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LB was right on the money when he said that Pierce would be much better if he had 2 or 3 HOF's around him at all time.

When a guy averages 27.5 ppg for a career and you surround him with guys who average 20 or 21 ppg you're going to get a lot of scoring. That means less double teaming. I'm not taking anything away from Bird here, but if Pierce had the team Larry had around him to, he'd average 35 ppg and have about 5 championships here.

(Sorry if that's a little hazy, I'm feeling kind of sick right now)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
TAllen42 said:
LB was right on the money when he said that Pierce would be much better if he had 2 or 3 HOF's around him at all time.

When a guy averages 27.5 ppg for a career and you surround him with guys who average 20 or 21 ppg you're going to get a lot of scoring. That means less double teaming. I'm not taking anything away from Bird here, but if Pierce had the team Larry had around him to, he'd average 35 ppg and have about 5 championships here.

(Sorry if that's a little hazy, I'm feeling kind of sick right now)

again Bird in his rookie year took a 29-53 to 61-21. Un-freakin-believable. He did not just walk onto a championship team.
 

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Causeway said:
again Bird in his rookie year took a 29-53 to 61-21. Un-freakin-believable. He did not just walk onto a championship team.


im not exactly sure about the personell at that time but i know that tim duncan did the same thing but it was a little skewed because david robinson was hurt the year before and came back with duncan...was it all bird or did others join him his rookie year?
 

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bird is the best player to grace a celtic uniform, hands down. bill russell and hondo, as great as they are, have absolutely no stake in challenging bird for that spot. and IMO, PP comes in fourth, at best, after those three.

but heinsohn was referring to being the best offensive player. now, i think bird still has an edge in the overall offense package.

but in terms of getting balls in the basket? and in playoffs, like Bird says is the only time it matters?

can we point him tward the greatest comeback of all time?

PP is without a doubt one of the greatest clutch performers of all time. and i'm not talking just in the traditional jordan sense of making that winning shot. i mean bringing the team from the dead so that the winning shot can be taken.
 

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BackwoodsBum said:
That's one way to look at it. Another way would be to ask how many of those players would be in the hall of fame if they hadn't had Bird there?
I think Dave Cowens, Tiny Archibald and Bill Walton had those Hall of Fame spots sewn up before they played with Bird, Parish was a mobil seven footer putting up a 17/10/2 line in Golden State before he arrived in Boston. I think Kevin would also have made the Hall of Fame with or without Bird.
 
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