Morning sports update: Ray Allen thinks it was a mistake for Paul Pierce to compare himself to Dwyane Wade

"It's great that you love yourself, but you just have to make sure that you pay homage to greatness when you see it."

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in 2008.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in 2008. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Celtics rallied from an 11-point deficit entering the fourth quarter Wednesday night to defeat the Pacers 99-91 in Game 2 of the first round NBA playoff series. Kyrie Irving led the way with 37 for the Celtics, who play Game 3 on Friday in Indiana at 8:30 p.m. EST.

The Bruins outscored the Maple Leafs in Game 4, 6-4. The series is now tied 2-2 heading back to Boston on Friday night (7 p.m.)

And the Red Sox lost to the Yankees 5-3 on a seventh-inning grand slam from Brett Gardner, falling to 5-13 (the worst start by a defending World Series winner since the 1998 Marlins).

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Ray Allen’s take on the Paul Pierce-Dwyane Wade debate: Asked what he thought of the recent debate (started by Paul Pierce) about whether Pierce or recently retired Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had a better career, Ray Allen at first dodged the question.

“I just think it’s hard to compare,” Allen said. “Those two guys are different players.”

Allen played with both Pierce and Wade during his career, winning NBA championships with both the Celtics and Heat. His points, which he explained in a recent Sports Illustrated interview, was that these types of debates are wrong in general.

“That doesn’t get him anywhere by saying that,” Allen said of Pierce’s claim to have had a better career than Wade. “It’s great that you love yourself, but you just have to make sure that you pay homage to greatness when you see it. I think that moment was an opportunity to just celebrate D-Wade’s career and what he’s meant to the NBA.”

“And see Paul had a great career,” Allen continued. “There’s no taking away from the career that Paul had, but what he did was he entered the arena of now allowing people to start judging him and it took away from his greatness. I don’t want to take away from Paul’s greatness, because he’s done great things in the league, and he’s set standards and a tone.”

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In Allen’s view, NBA discourse would be improved if debates like that were avoided entirely.

“That’s what we have to get away from is trying to pit this player against that player and compare. It’s like no, let’s just look at what they’ve done individually and marvel at their impact in the league and just appreciate each individual for who they are.”

Trivia: Can you guess who I am? In my career:

  • I was the last Red Sox player to win the American League batting title before Mookie Betts in 2018.
  • I hit the walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera after the famous Red Sox-Yankees brawl which began with Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek’s fight.
  • I also hit the game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series (also off of Rivera).

Who am I? (Answer is at the bottom of the article).

More from Boston.com:

Kyrie Irving’s performance was a playoff classic: After continually promising that the playoffs would be different from an inconsistent regular season, Kyrie Irving showed what he meant on Wednesday night. His 37 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and one steal was the kind of performance that Celtics fans had been waiting for.

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“It’s just been a long journey from having those two knee surgeries and watching the team last year,” said Irving. “And finally having a chance to lace ’em up for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs there’s nothing like it.” [The Boston Globe]

This is how you announce your schedule:

A photo from the summit of Mount Washington shows just how much snow Wildcat Mountain Ski Area still has:

Michael Jordan once played in Europe during a Nike tour in 1990. Fascinating rare footage:

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A game for the ages: Manchester City and Tottenham played the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday. Tottenham led after the first leg, 1-0. While it was maybe not the best played game of soccer, it was one of the most exciting. Five goals were scored in the first 25 minutes as both teams played at a frenetic pace.

Video replay calls factored heavily into multiple decisions late in the game, with Tottenham advancing in the end on away goals despite losing 4-3. Even Manchester City’s Twitter account was at a loss for words.

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The highlights are worth a watch:

On this day: In 1999, Wayne Gretzky called time on his legendary NHL career. “The Great One” closed out his 21st season by leading the Rangers in scoring, but acknowledged that “it’s a hard game. Time does something to you, and it’s time.”

Exactly how dominant Gretzky truly was is difficult to properly quantify, though he did his best to supply the necessary data. Of the NHL’s four 200-point seasons all-time, Gretzky owns all of them. The difference in all-time points between first place Gretzky (2,857) and second place Jaromir Jagr (1,921) is greater than the difference between Jagr and the 91st all-time points leader, Dave Keon (986).

And even if you try to take different eras into account (that points flowed more regularly in Gretzky’s prime), the gulf in class between Gretzky and his peers remains enormous.

For example, 25-year-old Nikita Kucherov led the NHL with 128 points this season. It’s a total that’s 9.4 percent greater than second placed Connor McDavid’s 116. Let’s compare that to Gretzky’s 1985-1986 season, when he was also 25. The Oilers superstar scorched the hockey world with an inconceivable 215 points, 34.4 percent more than second place Mario Lemieux (with 141 points).

It was fitting that his final career point, scored on April 18, 1999 in his final game, came on an assist. Gretzky scored 894 career goals (most all-time), but tallied 1,963 career assists, more than double his goals total. Despite being hockey’s most accomplished individual talent, he was in many respects its ultimate team player.

Daily highlight: Al Horford’s enormous block on the defensive end cued Jayson Tatum’s go-ahead 3-pointer on the offensive side to help the Celtics rally for a win in Game 2.

Trivia answer: Bill Mueller