I’ve said it before, a million times: The C’s are Rajon Rondo’s team now. He’s the one Celtic who consistently played great all season long. He’s the one Celtic you can always count on to contribute to a Celtics victory. He’s the one Celtic who never disappears. But he’s not the player I most trust tonight. He’s not the player I want with the ball as the clock winds down and the NBA championship hangs in the balance.
Paul Pierce is.
I trust in most guys on the Celtics roster. I really do. Ray Allen hits big shots. Rondo normally rises to the occasion. KG does his thing. Even Glen Davis tends to love the bright lights of big games. The Celtics bring it when their backs are against the wall, and I expect nothing less.
But Paul Pierce is their leader. Captain Clutch.
Pierce needs to set the tone tonight. Be aggressive. Find his sweet spot. Attack Ron Artest. Stepbacks at the elbow. Drives all the way to the hoop. Get to the free throw line. Close the door on the Lakers. End this season the right way. With a championship.
Pierce’s legacy is on the line. And he knows it.
“I love the fact that I get to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 7 on the road,” Pierce told Sports Illustrated. “I love the fact that, if I don’t win multiple championships, I probably won’t be mentioned amongst the other guys in Celtics history that have done it before. That type of stuff motivates me. That type of stuff, I think, helps me play at my best when I’m put to that type of test. To win another championship would be the best thing that can ever happen.”
“A lot of guys have won one,” Pierce continued, aware of Celtics history. “But all the great Celtics have won two, at least. I want to be mentioned in that group.”
Is there anything better than winning a championship?
“That’s what we play for,” said Pierce. “That’s what motivates me each and every year, and that’s what the challenge is for me every time I put on this Celtic uniform. To win one would be great, and I haven’t really even thought about the feeling of not being there with the other guys and winning multiple championships, because I feel like we’re going to get it done.”
The lights are bright, the stage is set, and the Celtics are one win away from an NBA championship. All Paul Pierce has to do is take them home.