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A Fun Celtics Flashback After Heat Win Title

Last night, as I watched LeBron James put an exclamation point on a tremendous postseason campaign with a triple-double to help the Heat clinch the 2011-12 title, I couldn’t help but have a flashback.

Winning a championship is a tough enough task in itself, but blowing your opponent out of the water, all while you are in your home arena in a championship-clinching game, there’s nothing really that tops that in my estimation.

So naturally, as I witnessed what the Heat were doing to the Oklahoma City in Game 5, it fondly reminded me of a special occasion just four years earlier, Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

That night for Boston fans needs no introduction, but it was almost surreal how similar the two games were in a way. For the victors, it was an offensive explosion unlike any other, while OKC, like the Lakers were forced to tap out with minutes remaining in the season-ending contest as they had no real hope in slowing the deluge.

Mike Miller (7-OF-8 on 3PA) played the part of Ray Allen (7-of-9 on 3PA), Russell Westbrook (4-of-20) was Kobe Bryant (7-of-22) and Erik Spoelstra even got a rarely-seen Doc Rivers Gatorade bath on the hardwood.

Kudos is deserved in every which way to the Heat this morning, who earned the title fair and square and did it in a way that should shut up a lot of their critics for at least the next few months. The Celtics can take pride in the knowledge that despite being shorthanded, they gave the Heat easily their toughest series of the postseason, pushing them to seven games like no other team could. Unfortunately for Boston, Miami had another gear when it counted that the C’s and the rest of the league lacked.

However, on this day in late June, Celtics fans can take solace in the fact that despite the impressiveness of the Heat’s win last night, it still doesn’t come close to the effort Boston put together in Game 6 in 2008. 131 points, a 39-point margin of victory, leading by as many as 45(!) points in the fourth quarter, a much better executed Gatorade bath (see above) by Paul Pierce compared to the unsurprising one (from the front?) Udonis Haslem gave Coach Spo last night. Haslem should know you have to at least to try to sneak up on the guy from behind! Completely unacceptable! I digress.

Every few months I make a point of trying to watch some nearly flawless basketball, just for fun. There are a few options to choose from in NBA lore, but there’s really nothing that tops Game 6 of 2008 in my mind out of games with so much on the line. Miami has now joined that club, but the Celtics still remain at the top of it, when it comes to clinching a title in style.

  • -jp

    Watching them win makes me sick. This “team” was engineered by 3 ego maniacs. They don’t play team basketball. They don’t respect the game. It’s sad to see them win and lend legitimacy to their style.

    • will

      Maybe last years heat team, this team did move the ball, did share it, and quite frankly it was pretty impressive to watch. I can't stand their egos still, but I don't know how you could watch the last 4 games and not agree that the heat played good team basketball. They got contributions from a number of players, and I even saw their big 3 use ball movement and passing to get good looks at the rim. Not just 1-on-1 dribble drives.

      Their defense is also scary good…

      • Jon

        you're definitely right, they moved the ball really well in the finals, but they absolutely did NOT play good team basketball in the Celtics series where we saw a lot more 1-on-1 offense. This tells me that when they are looking at an average defensive team like the Thunder, their offense can be more team oriented. I thought the double team on LeBron was a horrible game plan and I felt that taking Durant off of LeBron disengaged him on both ends of the floor. All in all the finals should have been a testament to the Celtics team-defensive prowess, taking the champs to 7 games while hobbled. I think the Heat are learning, but they are definitely not there yet. LeBron is definitely catching on to the team concept though and he's figuring out what it takes.

    • Tos

      Listen, I hate the Heat, but how can you say that and even partially believe it?? They wouldn't have won if they weren't moving the ball… 3 pointers by all of their role players Iced this game.

  • CG12

    I was rooting against the Heat and the Heatles, but anyone who appreciates basketball has to give props to how good LeBron has been for a solid month. He has been otherworldly, and I have to give him the respect he has earned the old fashioned way – by getting results. No one defender could stop him going to the hoop, and when the doubled him, he inevitably made the right pass for a shooter ready for a wide-open 3. His outside shooting is the only hole in his game, and it isn't even that big of a hole. Pretty strong stuff, I must say. But I still loathe Dwyane Wade.

    • zach

      agree with everything especially loathing D-Wade. This outcome should make the Celtics feel good about what they werer able to do with thier unselfishness, team play, Rondo, and thier old man center! Excited for next year! If the Heat have an injury that could be us playing the Thunder

    • dslack

      Yup. In the last 2 years, I've gone from liking Wade and not liking LeBron so much to the exact opposite. Since The Decision, there's really nothing to dislike about LeBron, and even The Decision wasn't THAT bad. (Nowhere near as bad as Wade's judo move on Rondo.)

      • CG12

        It is a pretty played-out story line that LeBron figured out how to win by crashing and burning in last year's finals, but it appears to be very true. Last year, LeBron tried being the bad guy, then he didn't like being the bad guy, and generally was seriously over-thinking everything. This year, he just shut up and played, and you could see the difference on the court. This next observation is way beyond my portfolio as a mere basketball fan, and a Celtics fan at that, but he really did appear to be a man more at peace with himself. I'm never going to cheer for him, but I'm no longer refreshing myself on LeBron haterade.

  • tbunny

    I have to get something off my chest. I was driving through central MA last week and some radio guys were talking about the Celtics and some "expert" they had on said that the celtics face a choice of going with a team that's not good enough to win a championship, and a "rebuilding" process. Said, they probably want to have the playoff team but obviously there's no way they can win a championship.

    I guess it shouldn't be surprising at this point since underestimating the celtics is like a year round thing. But REALLY? The celtics just took the eventual champion to seven, basically won four games in a row, had guys who need surgery playing big minutes, had their starting 2 watching at home, and you're going to say they CAN'T win a championship? Did you watch the level of defense played by the thunder? They looked like undergrads compared to the Celtics.

    I believe very very strongly that if Ainge is smart and doesn't reach, and most of all does whatever it takes to resign KG, we will have a team with just as much or more potential to win a title as last year's team. And the experts saying it's not possible are not experts and don't know shit.

    • High Rollers

      With you, tbunny.

    • Anthony

      Absolutely agree!! I thought going into the series, OKC had good chance to win but Miami was just out of their league. OKC ran Miami into exhaustion in only 2 quarters in the 2nd half of Game 1, yet they didn't see that as their advantage. And the decision making of Westbrook leaves a lot to be desired and just proves how much better Rondo is. Even in last night's game, DWade picks up his 2nd foul with almost 7mins left in the 1st quarter yet OKC doesn't attack him and try to draw his 3rd foul. Defensively, what was OKC even doing? Why was Perkins guarding Bosh and Ibaka guarding Battier? Their 3pt defense was horrendous and inexcusable. And trying to compensate and close out on the 3pt shooters, they give up an insane amount of lay-ups. If the Celts had OKC's youth and athleticism, Miami would've been swept and blown out every game.

      I actually prefer all these so-called experts underestimating the Celts. It just make them look silly when they really see what the Celts are made of. Lastly, I don't understand how everyone is saying the Celts are "rebuilding" when this is already a playoff team with Rondo, AB, Pierce and KG. Anybody else that they add will only better their chance come playoff-time.

  • zach

    the lack of respect is maddening. The ESPN experts never ate any crow about their dismissal of Boston (Hollinger or Ford made an inane tweat about the Heat getting a buy in the ECF, which turned out to be moronic given the ECF vs the finals outcome)

  • High Rollers

    Boston's Game 6 Finals clincher was ridiculously enjoyable to watch. The most unforgettable out of all the unforgettable New Big Three Era moments. Definitely set the tone for this core. All in, grit and balls, leave no doubt.

  • I_Love_Green

    I'm actually really happy for Lebron. What he did this postseason was just unreal, and he deserved this title. Obviously he had help, Battier and Chalmers were fantastic, but he dominated that series, and I'm glad I was able to watch it.

    • tbunny

      His presence on the court was incredible. And he played really smart. He deserves it.

  • Miggy_Miggz

    No shame in losing to the eventual champion. Oh, and taking them to 7 games nonetheless. They also have what could be the best player to ever play the game by the time its all said and done.

    Well, now its on to next year and our quest for #18. We're not that far away DA; just add a few new parts to the engine and watch that baby run.

  • High Rollers

    Well put, CG12.

  • heat fan

    You guys are still talking about the Celtic heat playoffs how pathetic you guys are. Living in the past is what Celtic fans are best at.

  • hansgruber

    This is the night I stopped hating Lebron. He deserves this. What I also liked is how he kept his teammates from acting like it was over when there was still another quarter left and when he celebrated he didn’t try to emulate MJ or look badass like Kobe. I will continue to root against the Heat especially when they play the Celtics but I’m not gonna be negative about Lebron anymore because he proved everyone wrong finally.

    That being said, two things I didn’t like about the game:
    1. The flagrant foul on Fisher which was enjoyable to watch because I hate Derek Flopper was unneeded. The Heat were playing with little aid from the officials actually and it was just bad.
    2. After watching how bad OKC performed it hurts even more that the Celtics got knocked out because they could have beaten this same team in the finals.

    Anyway, at least there will be a threat in the east to keep the Lakers from getting more banners than the Cs for a while if the Celts don’t do it themselves.

  • Clarenz

    Miami won? Prepare for the end of the world.

  • Morpheus

    Yep, you’re supposed to come from behind, dumbass, Haslem.

    I remember dreaming about winning 2 more championships after that game. Man, we were so dominant back then too.

  • High Rollers