BOSTON - In a decade that was dominated by multiple championship runs from the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and Boston Bruins, it often felt like the Boston Celtics were the little brother who kept reaching for greatness, but was consistently denied it. For that reason, this is the highest ranking Celtics game of the entire decade. But it is an absolute gem to look back on, too.
Coming off the heels of a game four victory in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics were red hot. They took the star-studded Miami Heat into overtime at the TD Garden, and the 93-91 victory was enough to even the series. Headed back to Miami, Boston hoped to take a three games to two lead and that is just what they did.
This game was an absolute thriller as the series, which was a back and forth affair, proving that a game could be emblematic of a larger narrative. Miami got off to a hot start, but Boston came right back and ended up taking a five point lead into the fourth quarter. Halfway through the final quarter, LeBron James nailed a three-pointer and Dwayne Wade followed up a Paul Pierce airball with a lay-up to give the Heat a six-point lead.
However, Boston came storming back and ended the game on a 22-12 run, including a dagger three-point shot that Kevin Garnett landed over a charging LeBron with just 52 seconds left on the clock. It sent TD Garden into a frenzy.
Ultimately, the Celtics won 94-90. In terms of the box score, LeBron and Wade led the way with 30 and 27 points, respectively. But it was Boston that was more well-balanced. Garnett dropped 26 with 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo added 7 points and 13 assists. Pierce went for 19 points and Ray Allen punctuated the affair with 13 points of his own.
Unfortunately, this game ended up being the last shining beacon of the 2012 post-season for the Celtics. It also marks the last stand of the "Big Three" era. The Celtics never made a serious run again after this game and, promptly thereafter, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen all ended up departing Boston in one way or another. Not only was this an excellent match between the two heavyweights of the Eastern Conference in the early 2010s, but it was also one last ride around the block with our beloved trio.
Image via Wikimedia Commons