05/15/2012 - 15:49 Historically, The Truth Prevails in Game Threes by
Ryan Laughlin and the Paul Pierce Team
After 13 NBA seasons and 21 playoff series, the world has come to expect toughness and execution from Paul Pierce, especially in moments when it matters. What most people don’t know is that during the playoffs, Paul saves some of his best stuff for those pivotal third games.
When the first two games of a NBA Playoff series are split, the winner of Game 3 goes on to win 74% of the time. It’s a crucial game, and Paul’s recent Game 3 performances are very much cause for optimism. In his last three playoff series, Paul has averaged an astounding 30 PPG in these crucial contests. The Celtics are undefeated in that stretch, winning twice at home and once on the road.
With a career record of 28-25 against Philadelphia, including a playoff series win in 2002 en route to the Eastern Conference Finals, you might say Paul and the Celtics will be just fine over the course of this series. But Paul isn’t relying on history. He’s focused on doing everything he can to help push the Celtics to their third Eastern Conference Finals in five seasons, and he knows that a change of scenery isn't going to help matters.
"We just got to take it one game at a time," Pierce told reporters after Game Two. "They’re gonna be tough in their home building. They really put a number on us in the regular season in their building, but it’s the playoffs. So we're going to look at the tapes, see some things we can clean up and be a better team when we get to Philly.”
Because of how important it's proven to be, a Game Three isn’t a Game Three without major adjustments from the coaching staff. As Paul suggested, Coach Doc Rivers will surely have the team in the film room during their day off. Celtics forward Kevin Garnett seems to agree. “I'm sure Doc is going to make us watch the first game, then watch the second game and it will be obvious."
Do You Remember?
It was just over a year ago today when Paul put on a major performance in Game Three against the Miami Heat. His 27 points, including five 3-pointers, led Boston to a blowout 97-81 victory. Check out Paul’s highlights below!