The Patriots’ final drive to win Super Bowl XXXVI squares off against Paul Pierce’s Game 7 duel with LeBron James in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
1. Patriots’ final drive to win Super Bowl XXXVIThe Patriots’ and Boston’s rise to power in the sports world can be traced back to Super Bowl XXXVI, when the underdog Patriots faced the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. The importance of the game never fazed the Patriots, not even when the game was tied 17-17 late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots got the ball for their last drive, and all they needed was to get within kicker Adam Vinatieri’s range. To accomplish the task, Tom Brady slung the ball to his receiving corps in a series of short passes that ate up yardage and took up just the right amount of time off the clock. Finally, with seven seconds left, Brady spiked the ball and Vinatieri came out to attempt one of the biggest kicks of his career. Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal was spot-on, bringing home New England’s first Super Bowl and Boston’s first championship since 1986.
16. Pierce-LeBron duel in Game 7Paul Pierce might be seven years older than LeBron James, but in Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals, the 30-year-old Truth refused to back down in the face of the 23-year-old Air Apparent. As soon as King James hit a shot, Pierce lit up the scoreboard with a bucket of his own. And on and on it went, back and forth for 48 minutes of never-say-die playoff basketball. Like a shadow, Pierce followed James around in the box score, and by night’s end, their stat lines were eerily similar. Pierce’s 41 points didn’t equal James’ 45, but Pierce’s Celtics came away with a dramatic win — and the series. And another chapter for the NBA’s greatest-hits, did-you-see-that, got-goosebumps-yet highlight reel.
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