Skills trainer and former NBA assistant coach, Otis Hughley spoke with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson and the Scoop B Radio Podcast. Press Play Below To Listen!
May 18 marked the ten year anniversary of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics’ game 7 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal duel.
LeBron James and Paul Pierce went toe-to-toe in a matchup between two future NBA Hall of Famers.
Pierce would finish with 41 points; LeBron had 45.
The Celtics also got the 97-92 win, advanced to the next round and would later be crowned 2008 NBA Champs.
Their rivalry seemed to begin that day.
LeBron may still be competing in the NBA, but Pierce is now an ESPN analyst and is still imprinting his competitive edge, too.
“Celtics has to win in 6,” Pierce told ESPN The Jump’s Rachel Nichols.
“I don’t want LeBron in a Game 7. I am not comfortable with that, unless you have ‘the Truth’ on your side.”
So @PaulPierce34 says there’s pressure on the Celtics to win this series in six, because he can’t see LeBron losing in a Game 7, even on the road.
Me: well, I’ve watched LeBron lose a Game 7 in Boston
Paul: “yeah but the Truth won’t be there this time” 😂 https://t.co/RGSkCU3rzk
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 23, 2018
Pierce has always been competitive; apparently in the offseason, too.
“I remember watching him and Corey Maggette just go at each other,” Otis Hughley told me on this week’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
Hughley, a former Sacramento Kings assistant coach during the DeMarcus Cousins years and a staffer with the Golden State Warriors during the Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors-era, says he spent a summer working with Pierce, Maggette and others at a skills symposium run by Kiki Vandeweghe at LA’s Loyola-Marymount College.
One of the focal points of the instructional symposium was a section which guided players how to pivot off both feet. The clinic also facilitated attacking the basket drills.
For you hoop nerds at home, think Hakeem Olajuwon’s instructional footwork clinics with Kobe Bryant, Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard.
Hughley says this occured at or around Maggette’s second year in the NBA. That means that this matchup happened sometime between 2000 and 2001, Pierce’s third or fourth year in the league.
So about the matchup….
“Oh my goodness, it was like fireworks, Fourth of July in December, it was fun to watch,” said Hughley.
“Paul Pierce was an unbelievable animal. People didn’t realize how tough he was.”
So who won?
“Paul, clearly, willed his way, skilled his way, and– I can’t say tougher because Corey’s tough, too,” said Hughley.
“But I think Corey quickly realized that Paul was nothing to play with.”
Both players clearly love the game and they’re still involved with it on the television analyst side.
Pierce with the World Wide Leader, ESPN and Maggette with Fox Sports.
Hughley’s respectable credibility in the league is wide-spread, having helped develop NBA big men like Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson, Zach Randolph and Tyson Chandler.
He shared that while Pierce did not beat Maggette by a lot in the game, he marvelled at how “The Truth” controlled the game, something that translated magically throughout his career. “Paul, first of all, is a killer,” he said.
“He came in with a chip on his shoulder. He didn’t get the respect that he deserved.”
In 19 seasons, Pierce became a ten-time NBA All-Star, an NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP and had his #34 jersey retired by the Boston Celtics, earlier this season.
Drake may say it was God’s Plan, but Pierce clearly put in the work.
Said coach Hughley of Pierce: “He was very understanding of what it took to get the most out of his skill-set during the time in which he played.”