After Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night, former Boston Celtic great Paul Pierce started a social media firestorm.
Golden State whipped LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 to take a 2-0 lead and Pierce sat on the ABC postgame podium and told a national TV audience that Kevin Durant had surpassed James as the world’s best basketball player.
Of course, James has eliminated Pierce in several painful playoff games in the past, so his comments could be taken with a grain of spite, but Durant has been spectacular in two Finals’ games. He had 33 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Sunday’s Game 2. And he had 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Game 1, which Golden State took by a score of 113-91.
But James -- the reigning and up-to-now undisputed king of worldwide basketball -- wasn’t exactly chopped liver. He tied Magic Johnson for most career NBA Finals triple doubles with his eighth Sunday: 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. In Game 1, James finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and became the first player in NBA history to top 6,000 career playoff points.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
Well, social media -- and sports talk shows -- were buzzing about the topic Monday morning.
We’ll start with Pierce’s comments Sunday.
Associated Press NBA writer Tim Reynolds feels that Pierce’s rivalry with James still burns hot -- and this was part of it.
And now the fallout.
Pierce -- known as “The Truth” as a player -- got blistered by his ABC co-hosts and by social media for his comments Sunday, though, it should be noted he did receive some support. But seemed to enjoy being the social media villain, as he went to Twitter to answer his critics.
Mike Goldfarb, who produces the uproarious “Shaqtin A Fool” segments on TNT thought Pierce was very much on the wrong side of history.
Sports Illustrated’s Rohand Nodkarni wrote a piece entitled “The Truth: Paul Pierce is wrong about LeBron vs. Durant.”
Nodkarni writes the following
While KD has been sensational so far during the Finals, his performance is a little difficult to appreciate, in large part because greatness looks so easy when you're Kevin Durant and you have a handful of All-Star teammates. James, on the other hand, is doing his best Atlas impression, putting the Cavaliers on his shoulders and carrying struggling teammates like J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson. While Durant's Hall-of-Fame cast is clicking, LeBron's had to do most of the heavy lifting himself, and the only intrigue in this series is seeing if he can pull off another massive upset.
Interesting, Pierce was never a fan of Durant joining the Warriors in the first place. When Durant made the move, here’s what Pierce tweeted.
Pierce also did an interview where he compared Durant’s leaving OKC to being beaten up a bully and simply joining his gang as an answer.
So is this all sour grapes or does Pierce have a point? Well, here’s a few more social media takes.
And before we go, here are opinions from the two big sports morning talk shows