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Celtics had no fear of LeBron before 2012 NBA Playoffs, says Hollins

CelticsWire logo CelticsWire 6/27/2020 Justin Quinn
Ryan Hollins, Greg Stiemsma standing on a basketball court © Provided by CelticsWire
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The Boston Celtics had no fear of LeBron James when the Banner 17 crew collided with a young LeBron en route to their last title, according to ex-Celtic reserve big man Ryan Hollins in a recent interview on the “Scoop B Radio Podcast” with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson.

To be fair, the Celtics had either beaten James’ Cleveland Cavaliers or Miami Heat (or were bounced by another team before they met) in the postseason before Hollins joined the team late in 2011-12.

“We thought he wouldn’t show up in 4th Quarters, we thought he wasn’t the real dude and when things got tight, he wouldn’t be able to go out and make plays,” explained Hollins.

“And if Paul Pierce could stay out of foul trouble, Paul was just as good at creating his own shot in clutch moments. So we’ve seen clutch Paul Pierce. Clutch Paul Pierce outshined Kobe Bryant. People fail to realize Paul Pierce was maybe the best player on the planet for that year.”

“Paul was really looked over because he had so many mediocre years until Kevin Garnett and those guys got there, ” he added.

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That Pierce carried the Celtics for the better part of the decade with a resectable roster only a handful of seasons before the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen isn’t mentioned enough when many contextualize Boston’s early-aughts contenders.

That injury played a role in two seasons Boston could have won it all healthy should be taken into account. While counterfactual histories create untestable hypotheses by nature, one does wonder how NBA history might have looked had the Celtics simply had healthier legs in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Be sure to check the full interview here.

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