Doc Rivers pulled out his stars Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in what may have been their final game together. There were hugs and embraces all around on the Celtics bench.
Then Rondo and Garnett kept walking, all the way back to the locker room before the final buzzer sounded — cameras followed them all the way back to the locker room while there was time on the clock.
They snubbed the Heat and did not take part in the traditional post-game hand congratulations and hand shakes with the other team.
Classless way to end it, guys.
A bunch of you just said, “so what? They were pissed off after losing Game 7 like they should be.” You are all the exact same people who would have ripped LeBron James as a disrespectful jerk if he did it. And in the past, when Lebron did skip the postgame handshake, it became a huge deal and he was shredded for it. This is exactly the same thing. You can’t have it both ways.
I get that they were ticked off but I expect them to be mature adults. I expect them to be able to accept defeat with a modicum of grace — Ray Allen did it, Paul Pierce did it, Doc Rivers did it, the other Celtics did it. You don’t have to be happy but you do have to show the opponents that just beat you some respect.
Struggling on defense — their calling card — then walking out on shaking hands is just a sad way to see a fantastic era of Celtics basketball probably come to an end. I just expected more from KG and Rondo.
Video: Emotional exit for Boston’s Big Three from Game 7
We don’t know what the future will hold, but there’s a good chance that Boston’s Big Three (or Core Four or whatever other nickname you have for them) will not be back together next year. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are free agents, and their futures with the team are uncertain.
So it was an emotional end when, with the game out of reach and 25 seconds remaining, Doc Rivers pulled Paul Pierce, Garnett and Allen off the floor. You could tell how they were feeling. This can’t be easy (especially since they led or were deep in the mix of this game for three and a half quarters).
If this is the end, they will be missed. This group played some old-time basketball — they defended hard, they moved the ball, they were not afraid to mix it up but could bring you the sublime and beautiful ball movement that would make any coach proud. The NBA was better for having them join forces
Heat-Celtics Game 7: One quarter of exceptional LeBron enough to send Miami to finals
LeBron James in Game 7 Saturday was not the LeBron James of Game 6. At least not for the first three quarters. In fact, at the half his performance pretty pedestrian — he and Brandon Bass had matching point totals.
But with the game tight in the fourth quarter, LeBron put his head down, barreled to the hole, led Miami on an 18-4 run and that was enough to give them a 101-88 win, which sends them on to the NBA finals for the second consecutive year.
If Miami plays half a game like that against Oklahoma City they will get blown out of the water. But that’s the problem for tomorrow. Today, the Heat get to celebrate a win.
What Miami did in the fourth quarter was what they needed to do all series against Boston — play good defense and have their stars attack. In the first half Boston’s offense was clicking as they shot 53 percent and built a seven-point lead at the half. It felt like it should have been more. Miami never pulled away and the first 14 minutes of the second half were a see-saw affair.
But in the fourth quarter Boston scored just 15 points on 39 percent shooting. There were moments Rajon Rondo — 22 points, 14 assists — carried the offense but in the fourth he went dry. Boston could not score and at the other end they struggled to slow Miami’s attack.
In the fourth quarter LeBron (31 points) and Dwyane Wade (23) were able to get in the lane, but for the first time this series Chris Bosh was on the floor to make Kevin Garnett and the Celtics defenders pay for their rotations. He hit two three pointers and had 8 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Any defense, even one as good as Boston’s breaks down when you can drive into the paint on it.
Which was an odd way for what might be the last game of the Big Three era in Boston to end. This was one of the best defensive teams of a generation, it was also one of the most selfless, throwback teams we had seen in a long time. They were good for basketball and the NBA.
But it was not enough. Miami’s talent and spurts of execution were enough.
Celtics fan Pacquiao will not enter ring until Game 7 ends
Manny Pacquiao already had plans for Saturday night and the Celtics screwed them up.
One of boxing’s biggest draws is set to fight Timothy Bradley at the MGM in Las Vegas on Saturday night, defending his WBO welterweight championship. About 16,000 in house in Vegas, countless more at home watching PPV.
And like a lot of other Celtics fans, Pacquiao suddenly had a conflict when the Heat rolled the Celtics Thursday night in Game 6 to set up a Game 7 Saturday night in Miami.
“Now Manny, the Heat, the Celtics and sports fans watching the basketball game won’t have to make a choice between events,” said Arum, who added that the undercard fights would begin at 9 p.m. “They will be able to watch both.”
Doc Rivers, what do you think of that?
“He’s a Celtics fan. What do you expect?” Rivers said. “Pretty cool, though. That’s cool.”
If the Celtics are going to win Game 7, it’s going to have to be a more physical contest than the one Pacquiao is in.
And if Pacquiao loses, he can just blame LeBron James. Whatever the outcome of the game. Everyone is going to be blaming him for something anyway.
Doc Rivers has Celtics packed for trip to Oklahoma City
After the Miami Heat rolled Boston in Game 6 Thursday, Rivers went into the locker room and told his Celtics not to back for the trip to Miami, but to add clothes so they could head straight to Oklahoma City for the start of the NBA finals Tuesday.
“We’re all packed,” Rivers said in a conference call Friday. “Guys have a lot of luggage and we’re hoping we can use it.”
Luggage has been used as motivation before — in 2006 when Pat Riley took over the Heat and took them to the NBA finals, the Heat to go back to Dallas for Game 6 and Riley said after the game he only packed one change of clothes.
For a veteran team like the Celtics this is just a little reminder what is at stake if they win. But winning will not be about luggage, it will be about generating some offense and hoping LeBron James doesn’t have another superhuman night.