LOS ANGELES -- A popular line of questioning at the 2010 Finals is about how the storied history between the Celtics and Lakers influences this series. When peppered with those questions, Lakers star
"I love the fact that I get to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 7 on the road," said Pierce. "I love the fact that, if I don't win multiple championships, I probably won't be mentioned amongst the other guys in Celtics history that have done it before. That type of stuff motivates me. That type of stuff, I think, helps me play at my best when I'm put to that type of test. To win another championship would be the best thing that can ever happen."
Indeed, Pierce's place in Celtics history is a topic of great debate. Statistically, among the legends he has few peers. Only two former Celtics (
But greatness in Boston isn't measured in scoring titles or MVP trophies. It's measured in rings.
"A lot of guys have won one," he said. "But all the great Celtics have won two, at least. I want to be mentioned in that group."
In many ways, Pierce controls his own destiny. His numbers in this series are solid -- a team-leading 18.0 points on 45.8 percent shooting -- but he has had only one break-out game, a 27-point performance in Game 5. As much as the Celtics like to play inside-out with
Pierce's impact on the game will likely go a long way toward determining its outcome. His Lakers counterpart,
"I don't know if I have played great defense [on Pierce] this series," said Artest. "But the series isn't over yet."
Like Bryant needs help to beat Boston, so does Pierce to oust L.A. But if he can control his matchup with Artest, Pierce knows he can put the Celtics in a great position to win. And put himself one step closer to becoming a full-fledged member of Boston royalty.
"That's what we play for," said Pierce. "That's what motivates me each and every year, and that's what the challenge is for me every time I put on this Celtic uniform. To win one would be great, and I haven't really even thought about the feeling of not being there with the other guys and winning multiple championships, because I feel like we're going to get it done."