Stop me if you heard this one before: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will face LeBron James in the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s seeming like that, eh?” Garnett said. “It seems like we’re seeing [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron for the last past seven, eight years. That’s what it is, man, the best is playing the best.”
During the 2008 postseason Garnett and Pierce’s Boston squad defeated James’s Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games during the Eastern Conference semifinals. Two years later, Garnett and Pierce would beat James (this time with the Miami Heat) again in five games during the first round.
The tables would turn in 2011 and 2012, when James and the Heat would beat Boston in the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals and capture their first championship in 2012.
James would end up outscoring both Garnett and Pierce in their head-to-head matchups during the postseason and would have his best performance during the 2010 postseason, despite the loss.
“It’s not a rivalry with Brooklyn yet. You can’t create rivalries in the regular season. They build in the playoffs,” Pierce said. “Miami is the favorite this year, they’ve won two championships. We’re still trying to earn our respect as a team, as a franchise, the city of Brooklyn.”
And again, the road to respect travels through James, who holds a 13-12 record in the 25 games he’s faced Pierce and Garnett in the postseason.