5. Other Clutch Shots
We’re cheating again here, but when Paul Pierce has knocked down so many clutch daggers, buzzer-beaters and game-winners in his career, can you blame us for struggling to narrow it down to just one?
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Instead, we have to take the time to appreciate all the backbreaking shots Pierce has hit in his career. He wasn’t the most efficient player during his time in the league, shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range for his career, but boy did he make those shots count late in games.
In an era where hero ball reigned supreme, Pierce was never afraid to step into the spotlight with the game on the line. Even as he got older and started sporting that old man YMCA game, his stepback jumper in the clutch was unstoppable.
Just ask LeBron James, who learned that the hard way in Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. With less than a minute to play and the shot clock winding down, Pierce drove the dagger into Miami’s back with a three right over LeBron to put Boston up four. James contested the shot well, but even in a hostile environment on the road, Pierce would not be denied:
The Heatles won the next two games to take the series, and they would go on to win their first championship together thanks to LeBron’s pantheon Game 6 in Boston.
But Pierce’s shot was still unforgettable, and can we really complain if that dagger forced LeBron to respond with one of the greatest playoff performances in NBA history? Thanks to Pierce, we were all winners no matter what happened next.
There are really too many buzzer-beaters, game-winners and downright vicious crimes committed against the New York Knicks to count, so we’ll let the tape do the talking.
If you want to understand Pierce’s reputation as a stone-cold killer, just watch those 13 soul-cleaving minutes. You’ll catch on pretty quickly.