BOSTON (CBS) — It feels like just yesterday Kevin Garnett looked up into the TD Garden rafters and told the world that anything was possible.
But it’s been 10 years since Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers (with some Kendrick Perkins scowls mixed in) led the Celtics to the 17th NBA title in franchise history, capping off an incredible and riveting season with a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Danny Ainge convinced Garnett to join forces with Pierce and the newly acquired Allen, the Celtics went from bottom of the NBA barrel to title favorites. Watching a trio of aging future Hall of Famers make personal sacrifices for their team was one of the most fun runs to a championship during this absurd two-decade-long string of dominance by the Boston sports teams. They ruled the NBA from the season’s opening tip, and the final exclamation point was a rout against the franchise’s biggest rival.
The Celtics will hopefully be adding another banner to their collection in the near future, but until then, it’s always fun to look back on that magical run in 2008. As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their epic clincher over the Lakers, here are our 10 favorite moments from that lopsided affair.
KG’s Shoves Away Gasol Early
Pau Gasol has had a great NBA career and really came on strong after losing to the Celtics in 2008. But during the NBA Finals, Garnett feasted on the Lakers big man.
While the game ended rather lopsided, it was actually a pretty close tilt until the second quarter. The Lakers started hot and the Celtics missed their first four shots. The adrenaline was flowing a little too much on the C’s early on.
But one man who would not be denied that evening was Kevin Garnett. Early in the first, he muscled his way into the paint and tossed Gasol to the ground, turning a feed from Pierce into an easy two, his first bucket of the game. It tied the game at 10-10, and Garnett spent the rest of the night swatting Gasol and any other Laker off his path to NBA glory.
Garnett scored 10 points in the frame, including eight straight, and finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds in a dominating performance in Boston’s clincher.
Pierce’s First 3
The Truth missed his first three shots from downtown and five of his first six overall. Then he finally got one to fall from deep early in the second quarter, giving Boston a 29-24 lead, and Pierce’s confidence returned. He only shot 4-for-13 for the game, and would hit just one more three, but he went 7-for-8 at the free throw line on his way to a 17-point evening. At the end of the night, Pierce was an NBA champ and MVP of the Finals.
Posey & House Go On Their Own Run
James Posey and Eddie House had a few moments during the regular season, including awesome hugs and pre-game handshakes, but both showed their true value when it mattered most. Posey played some incredible defense on Kobe Bryant during the Finals, and House knocked down some clutch threes in some key moments.
The duo combined for a great stretch as the Celtics started to pull away in Game 6. Posey hit a three with 6:59 in the second quarter to put Boston up 35-29, and House struck from long-range 27 seconds later to give the C’s a nine-point edge. After House hit a pair of freebies at the line, Posey picked Kobe’s pocket and drained a three from the left wing.
It was an 11-0 run by Posey and House, and a 32-29 Celtics lead ballooned to a 43-29 advantage in a matter of 90 seconds thanks to two of Boston’s key contributors off the bench.
KG Banker & One
The signature bucket of Boston’s Game 6 rout was Garnett’s ferocious and-1 that he banked in over Lamar Odom from five feet out.
As Garnett let our a roar from the court, there was little doubt the C’s would be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy in just a few short hours.
Rondo’s Driving Hoop & Harm
Rajon Rondo was a star-in-the-making during Boston’s title run, and did a great job getting the ball to the trio of future Hall of Famers he shared the court with. In Game 6, he got to score himself as well.
Early in the third quarter, Rondo picked up a loose ball and drove right at Kobe, finishing with his patented finger roll for two and the foul. It gave the Celtics a 69-44 lead and a brief glimpse of what was to come for the talented (but often frustrating) point guard. Rondo finished with 21 points, eight assists and six steals in Game 6.
One Of Many, Many Ray Allen 3’s
One of those eight assists from Rondo came on a beautiful find to Ray Allen (after Rondo forced a Lamar Odom turnover), who calmly knocked down a triple at the 7:37 mark in the third quarter to put Boston ahead 73-46. Yes, 73-46, in a deciding game of the NBA Finals.
It was one of seven three-pointers Ray would hit that night, finishing with a game-high 26 points.
KG Blocks Odom Late
How badly did Garnett want his first ring? He was still out there with 5:55 to go with the Celtics up 110-75, and still playing his high-octane defense. Odom went up strong to the basket, but Garnett was there to swat away his layup bid. Even with his team up by 35, Garnett didn’t take a play off.
The Big 3 Check Out With Four Minutes Left
With the Celtiics up by 32 points, Garnett, Pierce and Allen found their way to the bench with 4:01 to go. It’s shocking that it took that long to get them out, but they embraced on the floor and got to watch the final countdown to their first NBA title together.
Bonus points to the guy in the L.A. Sucks shirt behind the C’s bench.
Doc’s Gatorade Bath
Paul Pierce had a lot of time to think about his postgame celebration, and he decided to go with an old staple on the football field. He doused his head coach with some Gatorade.
It was a great scene, even if it meant the end of one of Doc’s fancy suits. At least his white-turned-orange shirt was auctioned off and raised $55,000 for charity.
The raw emotion that Garnett displayed in the moments following the game are enough to make grown men cry, even 10 years later.
“Anything is possible!” will forever live in Boston sports lore.