Even as an analyst, Paul Pierce still continues to troll the Toronto Raptors.
During a halftime segment Wednesday on ESPN, the retired 10-time All-Star smiled and snickered at co-host Chauncey Billups’ suggestion that Raptors guard Kyle Lowry would come up big in the playoffs. Take a look at the clip:
Pierce has some history with Lowry and the Raptors, of course. He eliminated them from the playoffs in two consecutive years, first in 2014 as a member of the Brooklyn Nets and then in 2015 with the Washington Wizards. There was definitely a bit of trash-talking and general bad blood coming from both sides as well, and it seems some of that still remains in the Year of our Lord 2018.
Video via NBA Reddit
The Cleveland Cavaliers should be considered the favorite to win the Eastern Conference as long as they have LeBron James, but Paul Pierce believes there is a legitimate chance they may not advance beyond the first round of the postseason.
If the playoffs began today, the No. 3 seed Cavs would host the No. 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers. With Cleveland trailing the Toronto Raptors 79-64 at halftime on Wednesday night, Pierce and Chauncey Billups debated over how tough of an opponent the Sixers would be for the Cavs. The discussion begins at around the 1:30 mark.
So here was the halftime segment of Raps-Cavs where we started by discussing how no LeBron James team had EVER given up 79 points in a half before, but then totally devolved into @PaulPierce34 & @1MrBigShot arguing over how tight a Cavs-Sixers playoff series would be. pic.twitter.com/CT6C9NIiTX
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 22, 2018
“They’re young. They’re hungry,” Pierce said. “It’s not a given Cleveland can get out of the first round if they play Philly.”
The Cavs have been inconsistent this season, but it’s a stretch to say the 76ers are ready to get the best of LeBron in a seven-game series. That would require winning at least one playoff game in Cleveland, which is no easy task.
Of course, many have pointed out that Pierce had his own rivalry with James that dates back a number of years, and this isn’t the first time the Boston Celtics legend has tried to downplay LeBron’s accomplishments. Perhaps there is some bias at play.
Paul Pierce thinks he knows who the next retired number of the Boston Celtics will belong to.
Pierce said that Kevin Garnett will “without a doubt” see his No. 5 raised to the rafters now that Pierce has had the honor.
“Without a doubt, KG’s number will be [the next one] retired in Boston,” Pierce said, via Chris Forsberg of ESPN. “It’s going to happen.”
Celtics president Danny Ainge seemed to concur, noting that the team has had informal discussions about retiring Garnett’s number. While the decision ultimately lies with ownership, Ainge argued against those who believe Garnett didn’t spend enough time in Boston to earn the honor.
“It was six years of potential championship-caliber teams and All-Star play from KG,” Ainge said. “I think that it was a pretty significant impact he had in those six years.”
It sounds like there’s a way to go on this decision, but it may happen. That said, it’s safe to say that if it does, that’s where the jersey retirements from that team would end given what has gone down with that team since.
Ray Allen posted a lengthy message on social media Tuesday addressing his time with the Celtics and relationship with Paul Pierce.
On Sunday, Pierce had his No. 34 jersey retired by the Celtics. Among those at TD Garden for the festivities were former teammates Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Antoine Walker. Doc Rivers was also there. Ray Allen was not, and that became a topic of discussion.
On Tuesday, Allen posted a photo of himself and Pierce to his Instagram account. He also included a lengthy caption addressing his time with the Celtics and feelings toward Pierce.
What we did in 2008 was special! Not only by Boston standards but by professional sports standards. The truth is, without any one of us on that team we would’ve never been able to do the unthinkable. Going from last place in one year to winning a championship is unfathomable. But, we did it! WE did it- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, Scott Pollard, James Posey, Leon Powe, Gabe Pruitt, Brian Scalabrine, Doc, Danny, everyone at the Celtics Organization, our wives, children, families, the Fans in The City of Boston and yes, me. Over the last few years I have been berated, lambasted and had my name smeared. You may not want to hear this, but I will always be a Celtic. (Fact). I will always cherish the bonds that I shared with all of my teammates and the people in the city of Boston. (Truth). We all gave everything we had. We all won and we all raised the 2008 NBA Championship banner together. (Ubuntu) Paul Pierce is the first guy that welcomed Kevin and me with open arms into his atmosphere from day one and we never looked back. Paul and I have spoken about our time together as teammates- going to battle night after night knowing we could count on one another and we have also talked about my decision to leave during free agency- a choice I made for my family. Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored- there is nothing but love. Paul and I are more interested in building bridges than putting up walls. To Paul, number 34, Congratulations on having your number raised up to the rafters. I salute you for your commitment to the city of Boston and to us the 2008 NBA Champions #thetruth
A post shared by Ray Allen (@trayfour) on
The source of animosity between Allen and his former Celtics teammates stemmed from his decision to leave them to join the Miami Heat. Rondo appears to still hold a grudge.
Garnett extended an olive branch to Allen, leaving it up to Allen to respond. He probably should respond more directly.
Whether Ray Allen would attend Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony was a big topic of discussion prior to Sunday. Allen did not attend the ceremony unlike some of his other former Boston Celtics teammates, and instead shared that he was playing golf. But Pierce says he is not disappointed by that.
Pierce said on ESPN’s “The Jump” Monday that he didn’t have a problem with Allen not making it. However, he was upset that his former teammates Tony Allen and Big Baby Davis didn’t make it:
Paul Pierce says he wasn’t disappointed Ray Allen was on the golf course yesterday pic.twitter.com/nzMrfuXGJQ
— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) February 12, 2018
Pierce seems to say that he has smoothed things over with Allen, who left the Celtics to join the rival Miami Heat. The same cannot be said for Rajon Rondo, who has not forgiven Allen for joining the enemy.
Garnett has said in the past that it’s up to Allen to reach out if he wants to smooth things over.
- Paul Pierce
It may have been Paul Pierce’s big day in Boston, but his son Prince turned out to be the real star of the show.
During an in-game interview between Pierce and ESPN’s Doris Burke, Prince Pierce spent virtually the entire time mugging for the camera as the rest of the interview went on without anyone even noticing.
Paul Pierce's son Prince stealing the show pic.twitter.com/zosjebv3jO
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 11, 2018
This is great stuff, and the Pierce family appears to have a little star on their hands. People immediately started to post memes in response.
When you're at a wedding that has a photobooth pic.twitter.com/Yffwj8n2Gm
— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 11, 2018
Boss Baby (2017) pic.twitter.com/ZGFJ5BaeRl
— Dane Carbaugh (@danecarbaugh) February 11, 2018
The NBA is no stranger to adorable children. Add another to the list.
- Paul Pierce
Whether he was invited or not, Ray Allen found something else to do on Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement day.
Allen shared a photo on Instagram Sunday that showed him golfing with friends, including comedian George Lopez. Another member of Allen’s golfing foursome indicated on Instagram that they were playing on a course in Los Angeles, across the country from where Pierce’s retirement ceremony was taking place in Boston.
A post shared by Ray Allen (@trayfour) on
Allen has been on the outs with his 2008 Celtics teammates because he joined the rival Miami Heat in 2012. His absence Sunday is even more glaring because both Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were in attendance after not being expected to. Rondo even managed to get time away from the New Orleans Pelicans to make it to the festivities.
The question is whether Allen wasn’t welcome or simply chose not to attend. The latter may be more likely, as Pierce himself has urged his former teammates to let bygones be bygones.