HH Tournament: (2) John Havlicek vs (3) Paul Pierce


John Havlicek and Paul Pierce decide the final spot in the Final Four

Larry Bird advanced to the Final Four yesterday with a win over fan favorite Kevin Garnett. Bird’s victory means that both top seeds made it to the Final Four. There is still one more spot left in the Final Four, and it’ll go to either Paul Pierce or John Havlicek.

Don’t forget that this is based solely off their playing careers with the Boston Celtics. Any coaching or front office experience shouldn’t be taken into account, neither should their collegiate careers or any other NBA teams they may have played for.

John Havlicek – 1984 Hall of Fame Inductee

20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG

16 Seasons with Boston, 8x Champion, 13x All-Star, #17 Retired by Celtics

During a career in which John Havlicek seemed to never miss the postseason, the best individual season of his career came in a year the Boston Celtics missed the postseason. The 1970-71 Celtics only won 44 games and missed the playoffs. Despite the unsuccessful season as a team, Havlicek shined as the team’s new leader with Bill Russell retired.

He led the league playing 45.4 minutes per game over 81 games, and his all-around game was as well-rounded as ever. Havlicek shot a respectable 45 percent from the field while posting 28.9 points, nine rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He dished out 7.5 assists per game the following season, as well, but the 1970-71 season still featured his career-high in points, rebounds and assists per game.

Along with being named an All-Star for the sixth consecutive season, Havlicek was also named to the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He didn’t finish in the top-10 in MVP voting, however that was likely due to the Celtics missing the playoffs, not based on Havlicek’s individual season.

Despite the Celtics failing to make the playoffs, there was no season that exemplifies Havlicek’s all-around game more. As previously mentioned, he had career-highs across the board, but it was more than just his stellar play. Havlicek turned into the leader of the Celtics this season.

There should have been an expected lull for the Celtics with Bill Russell retiring following his 11th championship. Havlicek took over the role as the team’s star player, and thrived immediately. Sure, it took Boston a couple of seasons to get back to the top, however it was also a much different roster.

Havlicek knew he had to score more, so he did. He knew he had to impact the game in every facet, so he did. Through all of Havlicek’s years with the Celtics, he had many roles and he always adapted. It was just one of many reasons that made him such a great player.

Paul Pierce – 10x All-Star

21.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 SPG

15 Seasons with Boston, 1x Champion, 10x All-Star

Even though Paul Pierce never led the Celtics to a championship by himself, he stuck with them through all the tough times, and helped bring them back to glory. After he jumped onto the scene during the 2000-01 season, in which he averaged 25.3 points per game, Pierce brought the Celtics back to the playoffs the following season with arguably the best individual season of his career.

In 2001-02, Pierce made his first All-Star appearance as he averaged 26.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and one blocks per game. He also shot 40.4 percent from deep, the third best three-point shooting season of his Celtics’ career.

The NBA recognized his breakout season by naming Pierce to the All-NBA Third Team, as well as Pierce finishing 11th in MVP voting. Pierce was also named the NBA Player of the Month twice. As previously mentioned, the Celtics were able to capitalize on his breakout season with a playoff appearance.

Pierce didn’t have the best playoff run of his career, however he still shined for it being his first playoff appearance. He played 42 minutes per game over the Celtics 16 games and contributed 24.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. It was only Pierce’s fourth season in the NBA, making the then 24-year-old’s performance even that much more impressive.

It was the only season of Pierce’s career that he played over 40 minutes per game in regular season (40.3), and he didn’t disappoint. It was also one of only two seasons that Pierce averaged at least one steal and block per game.

Pierce never led the Celtics to a championship until the Big Three was formed, but he still had plenty of memorable seasons prior to the era. 2001-02 was the year that Pierce was able to turn the script for the Celtics with his breakout season, and he never looked back.

Don’t forget to vote on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics! The poll is up for 20 hours. Comments on here don’t count as votes, only the poll on Twitter will be looked at to determine who goes on to the Final Four.

Next: James Young's Age Shouldn't Matter

Also, look at tomorrow’s match-up to see the results from today’s showdown.