It was a battle of the two lethal scorers. With everything on the line, both Paul Pierce and LeBron James had magnificent games to help their team advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. With that being said, one was able to lift their team while the other was sent home. Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semis would become one for the record books.
This was an important game for the Cavs to show their toughness on the court. After losing all of their road games, it was either steal this game on Boston’s home floor or bust. A team that was seeking to keep their reign of being the Eastern Conference Champs, they needed to come out with a mindset to shut down the toughness of the Boston Celtics.
Boston was also looking to keep things alive in this game. They started the expectations of a championship once they acquired both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett a season ago. They sought to take over the NBA and let others know that they were an elite team. Boston won all of their home games in the series. And home-court advantage would come in handy in a pivotal Game 7.
Once the game tipped off, both players got it going early. Pierce started the game on a pull-up jumper to get things going for his team. His energy would continue on for the majority of the first quarter. His energy on the floor gave Boston a boost and the reason behind their early lead.
LeBron, on the other hand, was pretty much-doing everything for Cleveland. Guys were not making shots early out on the floor. So it was up to The King to set the tone early for the team. Overcoming the physicality of the Celtics defense, LeBron still managed to attack the defense and get to the rim. His assertiveness was able to have him score 13 of the team’s first 19 points of the game. It was a great start for LeBron. But he was going to need much help from his teammates in order to pull out the victory.
As the 2nd Quarter carried on, both LeBron and Pierce continued to keep it going. After a very low scoring 1st Quarter, both of their teams began to find a rhythm and pace. Both LeBron and Paul Pierce finished the first half strongly for their teams. But it was Boston edging Cleveland with a 50-40 lead heading into the locker room.
Pierce finished the half with 26 points while LeBron finished with 23 points. You could tell both players found a great rhythm by hitting shots. Especially Pierce!
Pierce was chirping to the Cavs players believing no one on the floor could guard him. His swagger and confidence lifted the Celtics crowd as their home team was clicking on all cylinders. Boston continued to look on to the Eastern Conference Finals as the 2nd half started.
For LeBron, it was no question that he was going to keep his same energy going in the 2nd half. The second-leading scorer behind LeBron for Cleveland was Delonte West in the 1st half with 4 points. To keep their Eastern Conference Championship alive, they were going to need better production out of their role players to compete on both sides of the floor.
The 2nd half began of Game 7 2008 Semis. Everything was on the line for the last 24 minutes of the ball game. LeBron was on a reign to keep his team’s hopes alive. He continued his dominance in the game by adding on to his stat line. But other players in Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Delonte West began to produce. The Cavs shortly crawled themselves back into the game, putting Boston in an awkward position at the start of the 3rd.
As King James continued to shine, so did The Truth. The two stars continued to trade buckets back and forth with neither one of them looking to slow down. “One of these two are gonna have a great game and come out a loser,” Mike Breen said it best. The only difference in the game was that Boston as a collective continued to be physical on the defensive end. They forced Cleveland to be a jump-shooting team working in their favor.
Going into the 4th, both clubs were going to need as much production possible from everyone. The Celtics continued to keep their small lead alive at the end of the 3rd. And LeBron knew to turn it up even more for his Cavs team.
LeBron would score 13 points in the 4th quarter. Knocking down trey after trey and even got a big steal on Pierce late in the game. His dominance would keep Cleveland afloat down the stretch. It’s safe to say that, this game would end up a blowout and the Celtics would have won without his scoring.
But as always, LeBron continued to dominate however Boston continued to prevail. Pierce ended up having a quiet 6 points in the 4th quarter. But the production out of the other Celtics players was huge. They would secure late-game free throws and come out on top in Game 7.
The Celtics defeated Cleveland 97-92 in Game 7 of The 2008 Semis making their first Conference Finals appearance since 2002. It was another step ahead of chasing their run at their 17th NBA Championship.
Pierce would end the game with 41 points on 13-23 shooting. Even with a very quiet 4th quarter, it was still enough to secure the victory for Boston. LeBron would lead his team with 45 points on 14-29 shooting in the game.
One will say that home-court advantage was really the key factor for Boston’s series win. They lost all their road games and were lucky to have the last home game. They relied a lot on the TD Garden to take care of business and to get the job done.
Boston would go on to defeat the Pistons in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Afterward, they returned to the NBA Finals to defeat the Lakers in 6 games to secure their 17th NBA Championship. It wasn’t the prettiest of runs through the NBA Postseason, but the Celtics made it work.
It was a tough outing for both Paul Pierce and LeBron James. Both players wanted to secure the win more than ever. But with a strong will and production out of teammates, it was Pierce that came out on top. It was always a battle when these two went head to head. A Game 7 just made the matchup even more intriguing to watch out of both of the stars.
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