A gloat-o-gram from the editors, and shoutout to r/NBA & r/BostonCeltics.
The jump ball that led to Boston Celtics #Banner17.
A video review of their comments, the play itself — and a simulated call by Johnny Most — appears below.
Getting the jump indeed
About 9 months ago, one of our regular contributors was scouring through all the “Paul Pierce’s greatest plays” articles and videos — trying to find “that jump ball play from the playoffs against the Cavs.”
He finally tracked it down, posted an item on the r/NBA reddit page, and expanded it into an article here, “Pierce’s Finest Hour,” on May 18, 2017.
Months went by; the NBA press and punditocracy continued to give the play little shine, and perhaps didn’t even know about it.
The play didn’t make the ESPN, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, or NBA.com list. It wasn’t on most of the highlight videos he could find even from Game 7. You’ll scarcely find it mentioned in mountains of Pierce tributes past in the Globe, Herald, NBC, CLNS, a dozen or so Celtics blogs, or even the generally ahead-of-the-curve, intelligent mob at Reddit. (“All of us are smarter than any of us.”)
Evidently, however, someone was paying attention to our little crusade — or already agreed.
Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers…
Fast forward to last night.
Who was that in the pregame, talking to the press? Doc Rivers.
“Sure, most people think about scoring,” Rivers said. “But we won that Game 7 because of a jump ball. A fundamental play, and Paul is the king of fundamentals. So, that’s my favorite play with him.”
“Paul knew that Ilgauskas was going to win the tip, James,” Ainge said (addressing James Posey). “Sorry. But Paul anticipated it, knocked it free, dove on the floor and got a quick timeout to secure Game 7 (of the) championship (season).
“If we don’t get the tip, we very well could have lost that game.”
… and The Truth
Pierce himself — the Hemingway Celtic — took note of the Rivers-Ainge concord, and seemed to relish it.
“To get recognized that one of the biggest plays was a hustle play, that says a lot,” Pierce said. “That just shows you that I wasn’t just a scorer.”
Indeed he was not. He was, and remains, The Truth.