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How the very real Paul Pierce curse affects the NBA Finals

Paul Pierce will predict the NBA Finals — just not the way you or he expects

You best be paying attention to Paul Pierce if you want to know who will win the NBA Finals, because his curse knows no bounds. Pierce went on Twitter shortly after the Bucks were eliminated during the Eastern Conference Finals to give his analysis of “Puke, Bucks, puke, laugh cry, live long and prosper,” and for good reason.

When Paul Pierce says a team has a series locked up, it means doom.

Pierce’s disappointing tweet above came just eight days after Pierce called the series.

It’s probably easy to say “well, the Bucks were up 2-0 at the time and they’d won by an average of 16 points,” and you’d be right — except that this was the second time in as many months Pierce called a series early, only to see everything crumble before him.

On April 28, after the Celtics won Game 1 against the Bucks, he declared the series over, believing that Boston was going to move on.

“As a team, I don’t know where Milwaukee goes from here. [...] No listen, I think it’s over.”

BUT Pierce is actually really good at picking Game 7 itself.

There are some things that Pierce has projected correctly during the playoffs. He accurately predicted the Blazers would win Game 7 against the Nuggets, and did the same by picking the Warriors to beat the Blazers, once again in the final game of the series.

When the stakes are on a single game, Pierce has been shooting 1.000. But he’s utterly incapable of correctly predicting the end of a series.

Each step of the playoffs, he’s walked his prediction ahead by one game. In the Boston vs. Milwaukee series, he called it after one game, then the Celtics lost 4-1. In the Bucks vs. Raptors series, he called it after two games, and the Raptors went on to win 4-2.

How might the Pierce curse play out in the Finals?

This leaves us at a paradox for his NBA Finals prediction. Like one of those “spot the pattern” questions on the SATs, the Pierce method tells us he will wait until the end of Game 3 to call the series. This also means it will be pushed to a Game 7, considering the Celtics lost in five and the Bucks in six.

HOWEVER, he’s also perfect at predicting Game 7s. See the problem here? Let’s break this one down:

  • The Warriors go up 3-0. Pierce says “it’s over.”
  • The Raptors will then win three straight, tying the series 3-3.
  • At this point his perfect record of picking Game 7 runs head-first into his inability to call a series.
  • If the Warriors win the series his curse is ruined, but his Game 7 calls are intact.
  • If the Raptors win the curse stays intact, but his Game 7 calls are ruined.

So, what does this all mean?

What we have here is a dialetheism: a Greek philosophical term for a paradoxical outcome that is both correct and incorrect. But I know that’s deeply unsatisfying, and doesn’t help you gamble. As a writer, I loathe anything that ends in “well, it’ll happen or it won’t” because that’s a cop out. You need hot takes and hard beliefs, so when this is all over you can mock me on the internet and make me question the nature of my existence.

There is a logical way we can solve Paul Pierce’s paradox, and that’s by group consensus. If we all agree that a curse is real even if the conclusion isn’t fully met, then we can be satisfied with the dialetheism (that fancy word for being true and untrue).

Here’s what I propose:

If Paul Pierce says the Warriors will win after three games, and the Raptors come back to even the series, then the curse is real. He took an almost certain outcome (being up 3-0) and brought the NBA Finals back to par. At this point we can be satisfied that he cursed the Warriors.

At this point it doesn’t matter who wins Game 7 and the series, and it doesn’t matter who Pierce picked. He still cursed the team, leading to the possibility of a Game 7 in the first place.

We must remain resolute in this thinking, even if Pierce were to say the curse never existed, because the Warriors ended up winning the series like he predicted. Then we can wait for 2020 and see who he curses next year.