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View Full Version : Has Pierce been Kobe's kryptonite ?



Chronz
12-04-2014, 02:48 PM
So Im watching these 2 vets square off last night, they weren't matched up to start the game but it became obvious that Kobe was simply going to bully Beal whenever he needed to (Started the game 8-12). Prompting the Lakers broadcaster (Stu Lantz) to suggest that the Wizards switch assignments and put some length on Kobe. Well, whoever coaches the Wizards agreed and Pierce was tasked with the "Ariza role" of stopping Kobe. What do you know, 1 possession in and Pierce blocks Kobe's fadeaway. It was eerily reminiscent to this block in G4 of the NBA Finals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx-_o118F9M).

Kobe went on to miss his final 7 shots in the 2nd half as the Wizards pulled away for the win. The Lakers broadcast had a graphic comparing the 2 stars. I started thinking about that game 4 and how through the first 3 games, Kobe was primarily defended by Ray Allen (with mixed results). Ray had done a decent enough job to start G4 (Kobe was 0'fer from the field) but the Celtics were down 18PTS at the half with Kobe setting up his teammates off the constant attention he drew. The change to have Pierce check him was made so that the Celtics didn't have to double quite as much, particularly in the post, as noted by JVG and M.Jackson here: http://youtu.be/mEpumPIXexA?t=3m18s.
Phil Jackson countered by having Kobe guard Pierce to start the 4th and thats when the showdown really started. Both guys had their moments but it was as if Kobe's post game had evaporated. I remember pondering even back then, how underrated has Pierce been as a defender? People like to give KG all the credit the defensive turnaround, and possibly justifiably so, but people neglect the fact that the Celtics have mostly been an above average defensive team with Pierce around (Top5 at their peak), and he was doing this with guys like Antoine Walker and Walter McCarty.




Now I would hope I dont have to say this, but for those of you who dont understand nuance, Im not saying Pierce is solely the reason for his struggles, no 1 player locks down a scorer, but I fully believe that he more than any other star, has given Kobe the most fits as a 2-way player. I read something the other day that Kobe has studied Pierce's game to better learn how to adapt to age and a ground based game. And last night they were still talking trash to each other so the mutual respect is definitely there.





If you look at Kobe's career splits, the teams he absolutely obliterates stand out; New York, Golden State, Toronto, Clippers. And while his scoring is usually very consistent, some teams really drag down his efficiency. For the most part, its the names we've come to associate with tough defense; Boston, Chicago, Charlotte. Only San Antonio stands as the team to limit him to a 102 O-RTG and .51TS% (His career rate is 111).



I plan on editing this post to include only the games in which Pierce and Kobe played (in their primes of course). But there had to be a reason Shaq dubbed him the Truth after one of their games. I forget which one but looking at the logs, Kobe had some 5-25 games, 17-47 etc... Hopefully I can get some footage of those games to see what kind of influence Pierce had. Either as the primary defender or a roamer.







So the reason I made this thread is to pay homage to the battles these 2 have waged over the years, to raise awareness of Pierce's defense and to ask if you guys feel there was another star who gave Kobe more fits on both ends. Bruce Bowen may have been the best at staying in front of Kobe, hes made a huge difference on his personal efficiency, but Kobe never had to expend any energy defending him either. Pierce represents a challenge on both ends.

MonroeFAN
12-04-2014, 02:58 PM
He's a component, sure. But neither of these players are capable of doing all that much on their own.

Shlumpledink
12-04-2014, 03:11 PM
They play each other really well. I remember in the finals when Kobe was the only one who could guard Pierce.

Pierce is long, and he is also strong. Pierce is also from inglewood, ca and has said that he considers LA to be his home so he might have added incentive to give his best effort. This isn't the 70s and 80s anymore, guys often needed added incentive to give their best effort.

Chronz
12-04-2014, 03:19 PM
They play each other really well. I remember in the finals when Kobe was the only one who could guard Pierce.

Pierce is long, and he is also strong. Pierce is also from inglewood, ca and has said that he considers LA to be his home so he might have added incentive to give his best effort. This isn't the 70s and 80s anymore, guys often needed added incentive to give their best effort.
I thought of that too. Dont take this seriously but lowkey, I thought some voodoo **** was going on between these 2 over the years. Its as if the Celtic-Lakers mystique is a curse on Kobe that doesn't apply to Pierce precisely because hes from Cali.

PurpleLynch
12-04-2014, 08:02 PM
They are absolutely entartaining to watch,it was my favourite match up when Lakers and Celtics were in the top teams of their respective conferences. I personally remember a lot of good Kobe's nemesis,but Pierce is perhaps the best "written", considering the history and the skillsets on both ends in Kobe's and Pierce's peak.


Glad you paid homage to these two legends.

hugepatsfan
12-04-2014, 10:00 PM
Pierce just took his game to another level after the Celtics got KG/Ray. I don't think they really made him better as a player though. A better overall team makes everyone play better statistically (advanced and traditional) and I think just the atmosphere of winning made Pierce better mentally. Pierce carried a lot of bad/mediocre Celtics teams pretty respectively before that though. He was never going to carry a team to 60 wins by himself but realistically how many guys in the history of the NBA are there that could? Most guys need more than Antoine Walker as a second best player to really win at a high level. Or at least such great depth that you somewhat make up for it.

jerellh528
12-04-2014, 10:06 PM
Hey cronz did you use your phone to write this?

Sean Moore
12-04-2014, 10:14 PM
Pierce has done a great job defending Kobe for sure over the years for sure. Especially in the finals. Tough to say if this year is a good example from which to draw a conclusion with as both are well out of their respective primes. Prince should be in the conversation for sure. Even more than Bowen off the top of my head.

Chronz
12-04-2014, 10:16 PM
Hey cronz did you use your phone to write this?

fablet bro

Bruno
12-05-2014, 12:18 AM
I agree. Pierce always had size that bothered Kobe. As Kobe got older and relied more on his post play, he became a more convenient cover for Pierce and his strengths. Pierce is excellent at creating contact as a defender without drawing a foul and that type of defense takes a toll on a smaller, skill based player like Kobe.

Pierce has anchoring abilities from the wings and mid post like Jason Kidd does. great defensive stabilizers. I don't know if we should call them anchors, or what the right word is, but we have had a few greats over the past 15 years who seem to stabilize average defenses from the wings.

Bruno
12-05-2014, 12:36 AM
Since it's probably harder to find games where he's efficient against Pierce, a memorable one is the game 5 of the 2010 finals in Boston. The Lakers lost but Kobe had 38 on a .614 TS% for the game. Ray started out on Kobe for the first quarter or two (although highlights have Pierce on Kobe a bit in the first as well, maybe on switches). Pierce switched onto Kobe halfway through Kobes scoring outburst in the third quarter. Later on in the highlight he's being guarded by Tony Allen after Pierce, then Ray again to close the game.

I think Doc might have just been throwing bodies at Kobe hoping to tire him out, but Kobe had a few games against the Celtics where he managed to score a lot of points on a good TS%. But yeah, that's against Ray Allen more often than not. I'd have to go through each game to really be sure.

I think the heads up battles in the regular season from the early 2000's will be interesting.

slashsnake
12-05-2014, 05:23 AM
I don't know.

Pierce is very good, and so is Kobe, so they stand out. Both won a finals series against each other in the playoffs, and Kobe's scoring vs. Pierce is higher than his playoff average and Kobe has 7 of the top 8 scoring games between the two of them.

Regular season Kobe is 14-10 vs. Pierce and again, a higher scoring average than his career numbers, including four 40 point games (the top 4 scoring outputs between the two).

I think it is more two great players making great plays against each other than either one being a kryptonite for the other.

Chrisclover
12-05-2014, 08:33 AM
The match-up between them are reminiscent of the old days when both franchises were relevant. SMH, it is forever the past. I just hope these old men could accomplish their respective career swimmingly rather than being severely injured like Nash.

Chrisclover
12-05-2014, 08:35 AM
Hey cronz did you use your phone to write this?
How did you tell that?