BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat needed overtime to decide Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but each of the teams had star players watching the deciding minutes from the bench.
Both Paul Pierce and LeBron James fouled out in overtime of the Celtics’ 93-91 victory Sunday night at the Garden. Pierce, who finished with a team-high 23 points in 40 minutes on the floor, fouled out just 38 seconds into overtime. He has now fouled out of three of the last five games.
But the Celtics Captain had a smile on his face when James also tallied his sixth personal foul of the evening with under two minutes to go in overtime.
Pierce On Fouling Out, LeBron James:
“Oh, it was very frustrating,” Pierce said. “But it’s gratifying when you see the other star player fouling out, also. That kind of evened up the playing field.”
For James, it is just the fourth time he has fouled out in 795 career games, and the first time in the playoffs.
“That’s an interesting fact. You look up and the guy never really has a lot of fouls,” Pierce said after the game. “But we were aggressive against him tonight; we stepped up twice and took charges, we drove when he was guarding the ball. That’s what you have to do.”
James fouled out with 1:51 remaining in the extra frame when he and Mickael Pietrus got tangled up near the Miami basket away from the ball. James was whistled for the offensive foul, causing him to watch the rest of the action from the bench.
The Miami star did not agree with the call.
“I know how to play the game of basketball,” said James, who finished with a game-high 29 points. “I don’t need the advantage of holding somebody or pushing somebody down.”
“I don’t foul out,” he continued. “If I’m going to foul out, I wish I earned it.”
Boston was whistled for 30 personal fouls with Miami tallying 28. Pierce credited the style of play for the unusual number of fouls called.
“It was a cut, scratch, grab, hold, elbow-type of game,” he said. “I mean, nobody was going to give an edge. I’d say it’s a classic. You rarely see that, you rarely see that. You rarely see that when you’ve got two star players fouling out.”
The series, now tied 2-2, shifts back to Miami for Game 5 Tuesday night.