It was quite a decade for Celtics fans. A promising young team derailed by horrid personnel moves in the early 2000s. Four years of mediocre/bad basketball. And then everything changed in 2007.
Here's my list of the best Celtics moments in the 2000s (Click here for the list of worst moments). If you agree or disagree, let us know in the comments.
10. Rick Pitino Resigns – Jan 2001
The reign of error finally comes to an end when Slick Rick bails on his young team mid-season. Pitino's record during his four years in Boston: 102 – 146. Some of his horrible decisions include; not keeping David Wesley and Rick Fox, signing Travis Knight to an obscene 7 year, $22 million deal, drafting Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer and trading both within two years.
9. Wyc Grousbeck Buys the Team – Dec 2002
Paul Gaston agrees to sell the team to Wyc and Co. for $360 million. Fans were thrilled to have local owners who were fans of basketball and who actually cared about winning.
The Mississippi high school star was taken with the 15th pick. Big Al showed consistent improvement during his 3 years in Boston. He was on the cusp of stardom when Danny shipped him to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. Without Al, the trade doesn't take place.
7. Draft day deal for Rajon Rondo – June 2006
Selected 21st by the Phoenix Suns and immediately shipped to the Celtics as part of a deal which also sent Brian Grant to Boston in exchange for a future 1st round pick. Rondo has blossomed into one of the game's top point guards and is the future of the Celtics franchise.
Walker was breathing life into a franchise and fan base starving for
excitement. This was his breakout season. Walker set the team record for three-point field goals made (221) and
attempted (603) in a season, as well as leading the entire NBA in both
categories. He was the only player in the league to
finish in the top 20 in points (23.4), rebounds (8.9), assists (5.5)
and steals (1.70) per game. He finished first on the team and ranked
third in the NBA in minutes per game (41.9).
It was an epic battle between two superstars that stirred up memories of the Bird vs Dominique shootout. Pierce finished with 41 points on 13-23 shooting, while James dropped 45 points. The Truth would not be denied this day, as evident by his hustle diving and grabbing a loose ball in the final minute of the game which helped secure the Game 7 victory.
4.. The Ray Allen Trade – June 2007
The Celtics shipped Wally Szczberiak, Delonte West and the #5 pick (Jeff Green) to Seattle for Ray Allen and the #35 pick (Glen Davis). The Celtics needed another legitimate star to help Paul Pierce and as we would learn several weeks later, to help lure Kevin Garnett to Boston.
In Game 3 of the conference finals, the Celtics rallied from a 21-point 4th quarter deficit to beat the Nets at the Garden/Fleetcenter. I can still see Antoine Walker inspiring his team mates in the huddle. Pierce was unstoppable in the final quarter – scoring 19 points. The crowd was as loud as I've ever heard it. The Celtics did not win another game in this series, but it was a magical moment for sure.
2. The Kevin Garnett Trade – July 2007
The Celtics traded Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair and a future 1st round pick for the Big Ticket. Garnett changed the culture of the Celtics the minute he arrived in Boston. The Celtics quickly became a championship caliber defensive team lead by Garnett's unparalleled intensity.
The 22-year championship drought ended with a 4-2 series win over the Lakers in the NBA Finals. There were so many memorable moments in the series. Paul Pierce returning from a knee injury to beat the Lakers in Game 1. Leon Powe's explosive performance in Game 2. The 24-point comeback in Game 4 in LA. The 39-point drubbing in the decisive Game 6. Doc's Gatorade bath. KG screaming "Anything's Possible!"