On this day in Boston Celtics history, the storied franchise won their 17th and most recent title to date by defeating their longtime rival Los Angeles Lakers with a 131-92 blowout of Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
The win came at home in TD Garden, behind 26 points and 14 rebounds by big man Kevin Garnett, and 26 points from shooting guard Ray Allen. Point guard Rajon Rondo added 21 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists while forward Paul Pierce chipped in 17 points and 10 rebounds. Reserve forward James Posey provided 11 points off the bench.
It was Boston’s first title in 22 seasons.
After pausing to kiss the Lucky the Leprechaun logo at center court, Garnett went to find Celtics legend Bill Russell sitting courtside.
“I got my own. I got my own,” Garnett said via ESPN to Hall of Fame big man Bill Russell, present at the sidelines. “I hope we made you proud.
“You sure did,” Russell replied.
“This is the reason we came here,” Garnett shared. “This is the reason we got together, and Danny (Ainge) made it go down. This is it right now.”
“It means so much more because these are the guys, the Havliceks, the Bill Russells, the Cousys,” Pierce added. “These guys started what’s going on with those banners. They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones, and now I’m a part of it.”
The win would be the second-biggest margin in Finals history.
It is also the date that the Boston Celtics drafted small forward Len Bias second overall in the 1986 NBA Draft.
What should have been a joyful event soon turned heartbreaking, as Bias would overdose on cocaine, triggering a fatal heart arrhythmia in the Maryland product.
The loss of Bias devastated his family, the Celtics, and the NBA, after which the team began a long descent into mediocrity that would not truly turn around for 22 years, ironically on the same date Bias was drafted.
This is a 1998 photo of Popeye Jones. (AP Photo)
It is also the birthday of Celtics forward Popeye Jones, who was born in 1970 in Dresden, Tennessee.
Jones came to Boston in a trade from the Toronto Raptors with Kenny Anderson and Žan Tabak to Boston for Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers, and John Thomas, and would play just 18 games for the Celtics.
He averaged 3 points and 2.9 rebounds over that stretch before being dealt with Ron Mercer and Dwayne Schintzius to the Denver Nuggets for Danny Fortson, Eric Washington, Eric Williams, and draft considerations.
Today is also the birthday of ex-Celtic shooting guard Allan Ray, who was born in the Bronx, New York in 1984.
Ray was signed by Boston as an undrafted free agent in 2006, having played his college ball with Villanova. He would also play just one season for the Celtics, logging 6.2 points and 1.5 assists per game across 47 contests played.
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Source: Yahoo Sports