Ultimate 1-on-1 Finals: Pierce Vs. Bird | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Ultimate 1-on-1 Finals: Pierce Vs. Bird


Bill Russell's run in this tourney came to an abrupt halt last week when he ran up against Larry Bird.  Now, we have the matchup we anticipated.  #1 overall seed Larry Bird vs. #2 overall seed Paul Pierce. 

This is an intense matchup.  Their names sit next to each other in many of the Celtics' all-time categories.  Bird is #1 in points per game (24.3), but Pierce is second (22.2).  Pierce will pass Larry Bird this season for total points.  They're both amazing offensive players.  Both are underrated defensive players.  And each has strengths that can exploit the others' weaknesses.  

If I had one magical basketball wish, watching these two play a serious game of 1-on-1 might be what I ask for.  Sadly, we'll have to settle for this.  

We'll start the voting today, and reveal with winner on Friday.  Here we go… Bird vs. Pierce… in the Ultimate 1-on-1 Final Showdown.

(1) Larry Bird:
1-on-1 Advantage: Shooting, scoring, intelligence. Bird is a do-it-all player in the 1-on-1 game.  His ability to hit from anywhere on the court makes him dangerous against anyone.  He makes up for any deficiencies in speed by forcing you to play up on him and then setting you up for any move he wants to make.  He's a pretty good rebounder too, and his basketball IQ will let him know within a fraction of a second whether his shot is going to be off or not, giving him an edge to get to the rebounds.

1-on-1 Disadvantage:  Speed.  Bird isn't a fast guy.  He can be exploited with a quick first step, especially if he has to respect a jumper.  If a player can consistently hit from mid-range and force Bird to play up on him, then he might have a chance to get by for a layup.  Just don't miss.

(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.


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  • I love Pierce and admire/respect his game immensely, but Bird is the best. If the game was to 11, Bird would win 11-6.

  • G4L

    If for nothing else, Bird wins because of his atittude. He simply deeply hated the opponent especially Magic & the Lakers.

  • Like John said, this would be an amazing basketball magical wish come true to see this happen with both in their primes. Pierce has confidence for sure (I loved it when the C’s went up 2-0 against Orlando in the 2010 ECF AT Orlando, looked into the camera, and said “Our fans won’t let us relax, we’re not coming back here, we’re gonna close it out!”).
    I’m sure Larry saw that and a tiny smirk of acceptance ran across his face. But in real life, I think Bird, who amazingly was probably about 100x the confident/cocky player Pierce is, would look at Pierce and say: “I’ll give you a 10 point lead, game to 11, and the ball, gotta win by 2.”
    Then my guess is Larry would still win. It would be a helluva matchup though for sure.

  • Having to vote for either my favorite player of all time or my 2nd favorite player of all time was tough. PP is better athletically and could drive to the basket on Bird but if he missed, he may not ever see the ball again. In the end, I had to go with Bird but in a very close game. 15-13 as Bird couldn’t pull away to win by 2 til the end.