Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett? – Paul Pierce reveals who posed a bigger challenge between two top players
Paul Pierce played in the NBA for 19 seasons and faced many strong defenders, including Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. In an interview with Dan Patrick, Pierce was asked which of those two players challenged him more, and he answered Bryant.
He explained that it was because they played the same position.
“Most likely Kobe because I’m matched up more with him,” Pierce replied.
Kobe Bryant vs Kevin Garnett
Comparing the defensive abilities of KB and KG is challenging because they played different positions. KB’s main responsibility was guarding perimeter players, while KG specialized in defending big men. KG may have an advantage based on his accomplishments, as he has won more awards. Although both players received nine All-Defensive First Team selections, KG is the only one who received the Defensive Player of the Year award.
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If judging by observation, many people would likely choose KG as the better defender because he was able to defend players in multiple positions. However, it’s important to note that Kobe had certain disadvantages, such as being shorter than Garnett and having more responsibilities on offense as well.
Paul Pierce vs Kobe Bryant
Pierce appeared to struggle when facing Bryant in their matchups on the court. He averaged 21.6 points per game in the 39 games they played against each other, while Kobe scored 26.0 points per game in those same matches. Nevertheless, Pierce was able to hold his own against Bryant, and the two had a closely contested rivalry. While Bryant held a 20-19 record over Pierce in their head-to-head battles, Pierce had a 7-6 advantage over Kobe in playoff matchups.
In addition, Pierce was able to compete with Kobe in their championship matchups. In fact, during the 2008 Finals, the Celtics star even took on the difficult task of trying to contain Bryant on the offensive end.
Kevin Garnett vs Paul Pierce
When asked by Patrick, Pierce mentioned Kobe, but he also shared a humorous story about Garnett from the time when his friend was playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“But I will never forget the game where we played in Minnesota, and I know I was playing against Wally Szczerbiak. I was having a pretty good game. But then KG switched on me. He didn’t let me touch the ball for a whole two or three minutes. I’ve never felt anything like that. He denied me the ball, then the half-court. I mean, it was just like all defensive principles went out the window, and he just didn’t want me to catch the ball,” Pierce said.
Bryant and Garnett were difficult to match up against because of their exceptional abilities on both offense and defense. However, Pierce likely didn’t find it too daunting to face either of them since he also had many skills and tricks up his sleeve.
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