People conveniently forget that LeBron never beat Pierce in the playoffs in Paul's prime

Paul Pierce brings a lot of heat on himself with his statements. Then the powers that be twist his words some to make his hot takes even hotter, but let's be clear, prime Paul Pierce was a lot better player than non-Celtics fans give him credit as.

At the age of 23, Paul Pierce started averaging 25.3 points per game. The next year he earned his first of 10 all-star births. By the 2008 playoffs when Pierce was almost 31, Paul and LeBron James finally met in the playoffs. The Cavs were the reigning Eastern Conference Champions and LeBron was in his prime averaging 30 ppg, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists on the season. Pierce and the Celtics knocked LeBron's Cavs out in the 2nd round. Pierce and the Celtics went on to win that championship.

In the 2009 playoffs, neither Pierce's Celtics or LeBron's Cavs advanced to the NBA Finals and they didn't face each other. But in the 2010 playoffs when Pierce was nearly 33, his Celtics once again knocked off LeBron and his Cavs.

Then dealing with not being able to get past the aging Celtics, LeBron joined two All-NBA players still in their primes in 28 year old Dwyane Wade and 26 year old Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. The Celtics and Heat faced off in that playoffs and LeBron finally defeated Pierce and the Celtics. Pierce was almost 34 by then and no longer in his prime, and Wade dislocating Rajon Rondo's elbow in Game 3 put Boston at a serious disadvantage.

Now no one is debating that LeBron James had a more heralded NBA career and a much longer prime. But in Pierce's prime from age 23 to age 33, it is a fact that James never knocked out Pierce in the playoffs, yet Paul knocked out James twice.

Like many other star players, Pierce was still able to put up solid numbers through his mid 30's, but on the defensive end, a 34, 35, or 36 year old doesn't have the skills they had in their 20's and young 30's.

Here's what LeBron himself said:

"I would say that I don't really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce. I would say Boston is a rival of mine because I've met them so many times in the postseason. I've been able to advance against them, they've sent me home fishing a few times.

Yes, LeBron with the Heatles were able to defeat Pierce once he was in his mid 30's and past his prime. But Pierce is allowed to talk some smack, because he never lost to LeBron in the playoffs in his own prime. Didn't lose to Wade either for that matter.

LeBron is an all-time great and no one can rival the extraordinary length of his prime, but Pierce was a bad, bad man in his own day and even LeBron has said as much.

And who knows how many titles Pierce would have won if he got his costars while they and he were still in their 20's. I don't doubt that a prime Pierce, Wade, and Bosh would win at least 2 titles as well.

Point is Pierce was a lot better than the inter-webs would have you believe today. Why only one title then? No help until he was 31 and then injuries to all his fellow starters in the subsequent years starting in 2009.