As Boston Celtics fan, we honestly should feel lucky to have such a wide variety of options of what the best moments in the last 17 years has been. The only bad thing is that it was so hard to narrow down all of them to just the top five. From Paul Pierce buzzer beaters to Isiah Thomas late game heroics and everything in-between, here are the five best Celtics moments from the 21st century.
5. Ray Allen Becoming the All-Time Leader in Three Pointers Made
On February 10 , 2011, Allen became the NBA’s all-time leader in three pointers made burying one from long range from the right wing against the Celtic’s notorious rivals, the Lakers, bringing the house down. Surpassing former Indiana Pacers star, Reggie Miller, Ray hit his 2,561st career three pointer in 309 less games it took Miller, an extremely impressive feat by Allan. What makes it special for me was fan favorite, Ray Allen’s mom, seen saying “That’s my baby” moments after him breaking the NBA record.
With Reggie Miller calling the game for TV, it was quite the moment to see them shake hands during a timeout, signifying a “passing of the torch” as the best three-point shooter to ever live.
4. The Emergence of IT
While this chapter in the Celtic’s era is certainly nowhere near being done, I couldn’t help but to not mention Isaiah Thomas on this list. IT is an athletic freak, an NBA superstar, and he’s only 5’9”. Being without a doubt the most underrated player in the NBA, Isaiah has a way to consistently stay under the radar, all while still leading the league in points in the 4th quarter.
According to ESPN Stats and Numbers, IT has scored 20 points in the 4th quarter 4 times this season, while no other player in the NBA has accomplished that more than once. Just last night he completed his 4th 40-point game in the last 21 games, a sign that IT truly is a superstar on the come up. While IT may be small, his potential is limitless Simply put, he is the real deal. Teams must take him seriously or he will pick apart their defense. This is the type of player that New England takes pride in rooting for. We can only wait to see what IT has in store for us in the future.
3. The Comeback
It was Game 4 of the 2008 NBA finals and the Celtics held a 2-1 lead heading into LA for two consecutive away games. Game 4 was pivotal for the Celtics. They could win and be up 3-1 in the series, or lose and series would be tied 2-2 with Game 5 in LA.
After the 1st quarter of the game, Celtic’s fans knew where this game was headed. The Lakers were up 35-14 and Kobe was yet to score a field goal. The game was one sided and the air was sucked out of every bar in Boston. Surely we couldn’t be getting beat this badly?
With every person in Boston hoping for a miracle, the Big 3 gave us just that. Down by 18 points at halftime and 20 points midway through the 3rd quarter, the Celtics looked beat. With help from the whole team, the C’s were able to put together a 20-3 run which which saw the Lakers lead change from 24, to just one possession.
We all know how it ended. Eddie House giving the C’s the lead with 4:00 left in the game and Ray Allen with the dagger to go up 5 with 16 seconds to go. Working back from a 24-point deficit, the Celtics completed the largest comeback in NBA history. The amazing feeling to beat Kobe in his own house after being up by that much made the celebration that much better.
2. The Start of the Big 3
With all of Boston curious as to what Danny Ainge had planned after trying to make the Celtics championship contenders, he certainly did not disappoint. I still remember sitting in my bed when my dad woke me up to tell me that the Celtics got Ray Allen. The excitement that went through my mind was a moment I will never forget. But Ainge was not done. He then traded a plethora of players to Minnesota for none other than Kevin Garnett, a move that stopped anyone from doubting him as a GM.
With all three of the Big 3 (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen), still in their prime and averaging a combined 65.6 points (Via ESPN), Celtics fans were not going to accept anything less than a championship. We were all well aware that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers stood in our way, but we all know now how that ended.
The team went on to earn the top playoff spot while finishing the season 66-16. Led by the Big 3, the team went on to win a historic NBA Championship. After years of underperforming teams, Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers had (finally) brought a championship back to Boston.
1. Number 17
The 2008 NBA Finals was a friendly reminder of the nasty rivalry that the Celtics-Lakers had back in the 80’s. The media fed off that, the fans fed off that, hell, even the players fed off that. With Kobe going up against the Big 3, people nationwide were well aware that every game would be a hard fought battle.
Of course Boston won the first two games, flew to LA, defeated the Lakers in historic fashion, and the series ended after returning to Boston for Game 6. The Celtics won their 17th NBA Championship in blowout fashion, winning 131-92.
I think I speak for every Celtics fan when I say that Kevin Garnett’s interview after the game was inspiring to say the least, ending with the famous quote, “Anything is possible…Anything is possible!”
While I was very close to putting the Nets-Celtics trade that saw KG and The Truth leave for Brooklyn, ultimately ensuring Celtic’s success in the coming years, I’ll give that an honorable mention just because I sort of feel bad for the Nets. Good Lord that may go down as the worst trade in NBA history.
The Big 3 definitely gave us some memorable years and I’m excited to see what the future of the Celtics holds. Whether you agree or disagree with my five, I want to know! Share your five best Celtics moment in the comments, there are certainly a bunch of them.