The Boston Celtics’ recent NBA title effort not only set a record for the largest margin of victory in a championship game, 39 points, but it also became the largest improvement in a season in history.
A year ago, the Celtics finished 24-58 and last in the NBA Eastern Conference. This year they were 66-16, winning the Atlantic Division title and the Eastern Conference title before ditching the Los Angeles Lakers, 131-92, in the sixth and final playoff game to win their 17th title in the NBA and the first since 1986, erasing a 22-year Drought.
It was an incredible beating from the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant. It seemed like everything the Celtics threw came in after a big ball move, while the Lakers bragged that the “triangle” offense stalled when the Celtics cut their passing lanes. Los Angeles was left with Kobe receiving the ball in the middle of the court and trying to create points without help against 5 Celtics. Kobe made 7 of 22 shots from the field for 22 points.
“They were definitely the best defense I’ve seen in the entire playoffs,” Kobe said. That Kobe, he’s as sharp as a tack.
Kobe had very little help to help the Lakers to the title and take their place in history as Michael Jordan’s equal. Maybe another year. Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson, who had tied legendary Boston coach Red Auerbach with 9 NBA titles, will also have to wait another year, assuming he can find some aggressive players on the Los Angeles playing fields.
Maybe someone like backup James Posey, who came to play for the Celtics and got ugly for the Lakers. Posey here, Posey there, Posey everywhere. Draining 3’s. In your Laker face.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge, a member of the last 1986 NBA champion team, made the key moves for the Celtics to charge for the title. Ainge picked up Ray Allen (an All-Star and one of the NBA’s purest shooters) from the Seattle Supersonics, and Kevin Garnett (10-time All-Star and 2004 MVP) from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Ainge then added forward James Posey, center PJ Brown and guard Sam Cassell. Suddenly, coach Doc Rivers had a team that was hungry, mainly because All-Stars Paul Pierce, the guy the Celtics went to, Allen and Garnett had never won an NBA title.
The result in the title game was found by Garnett with 26 points and 14 rebounds, Allen had 26 and Pierce, the Finals MVP, added 17. Guard Rajon Rondo had 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals. In short, the Celtics brought a team to the playoffs and the Lakers brought Kobe.
It must have been very sweet for the Celtics, who were pushed to 7 games by Atlanta and Cleveland before beating Detroit in 6 games to win the Eastern Conference title. And then Kobe and the Lakers came, and Boston rented a steamroller and whipped up the Lakers who will gloat in Boston for at least the next century.
And so the Celtic season ends with an NBA title. Kevin Garnett became the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, a First Team Defensive Pick and NBA First Team Player. Paul Pierce became a third player on the NBA team and the MVP of the NBA Finals.