When Game 1 of the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers playoff series tips off Sunday afternoon, it will mark the fifth time a LeBron James-led team will face the Celtics in the playoffs. James is 2-2 so far in those series, with both losses coming during his first tenure with Cleveland.
Of course, James is the only player on either side who remains from the 2010 versions of the clubs (though Kendrick Perkins, who played for Boston, now dons the enemy maroon and gold). The Celtics haunted James early in his career, and his playoff losses to the C’s might have partially pushed him out the door when he infamously took his talents to South Beach.
Former Celtic Paul Pierce arguably was James’ biggest demon at the time, and though Pierce was traded away from Boston two seasons ago, that didn’t stop both reporters and James from reminiscing Friday as if James and Pierce would take the court against each other Sunday.
“Well, a playoff series is never the same without Paul (Pierce). Competing against him — he’s always someone I look forward to matching up with in the postseason. But he’s not there, and whoever I’m matched up against Sunday, I’ll take that matchup and their team very seriously.”
Even with unfamiliar rosters, James appears to still be seeking vengeance on Boston — despite winning his previous two playoff series against the team while playing for Miami.
“All of them (playoff series losses) pretty much stick with me, especially when you have a good team, and you feel like you can compete at a high level,” James said. “I thought that (the 2010) Boston team was prepared for us, was ready for us, and they beat us that series. It’s stuck with me a lot. I’m looking forward to this series coming up.”
Thumbnail image via Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
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