Bill Russell continues an improbable run in our Ultimate 1-on-1 tourney. After taking out Green Bracket 3rd seed Reggie Lewis, he moved on to eliminate 2nd seed Tommy Heinsohn in our last matchup. He'll now take on the Larry Bird/Kevin Garnett winner later this week.
For now, we move on to the White Bracket, and a battle of teammate to get to the semifinals. Paul Pierce, this bracket's top seed and the second seed overall goes up against 4-seed Ray Allen. Here's how they match up (overall seed in parentheses).
(2) Paul Pierce
1-on-1 Advantage: Scoring, shooting, size. Pierce is a total 1-on-1 package. Tommy Heinsohn calls him the best pure scorer in Celtics history for a reason. Pierce can hit from long range, he can drive and dunk on you, and he can hit that deadly step back from mid-range. Pierce uses his size in many ways. He uses his shoulders to hold off defenders on drives and he can back a smaller guy down if he wants. He's also a pretty good rebounder for a 3-man.
1-on-1 Disadvantage: Speed. The only place Pierce may lack is some foot speed. He's still a pretty good defender despite that, but he is still susceptible to a quick first step. A smaller quick guard could get by Pierce if he plays too tight.
(7) Ray Allen
1-on-1 Advantage: Shooting. Ray can flat out bury any shot on the floor. And when he's hot, forget it. You cannot back off him at all, or else you run the risk of him smothering you with jumpers.
1-on-1 Disadvantage: Ballhandling, height. To be fair, Ray can handle the ball well enough to get past someone if they're playing tight. But we've seen Ray in his Celtics days get ripped when he's had to dribble too much. If he has to face good defensive guard, he could have trouble clearing some space with the dribble. And at 6'5", he'll have a tough time rebounding against a taller player. Also, even though he's in great shape, Allen is small enough to get muscled by a stronger player.