By: Elvis Jocol Lara
On March 4th, the Boston Celtics and El Mundo Boston will celebrate the FIRST EVER “Noche Latina” at the TD Garden. Now it’s no secret that Latinos are huge fans of the NBA and in Boston, the Celtics reign supreme. The Celtics are undoubtedly the most storied franchise in the NBA, having been a founding member of the league in 1946 and won a record 17 NBA Championships.
Unfortunately, most Latinos in Boston weren’t around in the 60’s to witness the greatness of the likes of Bill Russell and his 11 Championships in 13 years. The elder statesmen here at El Mundo are able to tell you about the championships of 1974 and 1976 when Dave Cowens and John Havlicek ruled the day. Even more Latinos around town can tell you all about the days of Larry Legend, Kevin Mchale and Robert Parish.
For most of us, however, the age of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen represents our Golden era. In 2008 the “New Big Three” brought home the first championship in 20 years and brought a lifetime of memories for a whole new generation of fans, instilling Celtic pride into Latinos across Boston, young and old. Now, while the Celtics are struggling today, the glory of the most recent crop of Celtics legends is still fresh in the minds of many.
On “Noche Latina,” the Celtics and El Mundo Boston will honor the Latino fans of this great franchise. For now, however, we at El Mundo take the time to honor and remember some of the best moments the Celtics gave to us in the unforgettable era of Pierce, KG and Allen from 2007 to 2013. So lean back, grab a tissue or two, and take a walk down memory lane as the El Mundo staff ranks the top 10 moments (with some honorable mentions).
“Big Baby” and Nate Robinson bring Shrek and Donkey to life
Big Baby was always a bit of an eccentric character while with the Celtics. In 2010, during yet another finals matchup with the hated Lakers, big baby came up with one of the biggest plays of game 5. Completely caught up in the emotion and a delirious crowd, Big Baby let out a shout, and as babies tend to do, drooled just a bit (ok, a lot a bit). The cameras caught it all.
During the celebration, the Celtics diminutive point guard, Nate Robinson, jumped on Davis’ back, leading him to comment during the post-game press conference, that he and Davis were just like Shrek and Donkey.
Brian Scalabrine trolls the media and Lakers in an epic press conference following 2008 Championship
Brian Scalabrine was never a big time player for the Celtics in his 5 years in Boston, but he sure was a fan favorite. It’s no doubt why with press conferences like the one he gave following the Celtics’ blowout victory over the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Leon Powe is the surprise hero in game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals
Few people outside of Boston knew who Leon Powe was before game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals. An NBA journeyman before landing with the Celtics, not much was expected of Powe going into the Finals. However, his performance in game 2 would go down in Celtics history. Powe contributed 21 points in just 15 minutes on the way to a convincing Celtics victory and a 2-0 series lead over the Lakers. (Note: you can meet Leon Powe on Noche Latina by purchasing a VIP Ticket here and attending the pregame mixer)
Celtics fans show why they are the best in all of sports
Trailing by 20 points in the 4th quarter of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals is never a good feeling. The Celtics had the chance to secure their 3rd trip to the NBA finals in 5 years but blew the chance on their home court. Not many people believed the Celtics would have a chance in game 7 against the Heat in Miami… but the Celtics faithful showed they never give up. With a minute remaining, the fans at the TD Garden broke out into chants of “Let’s Go Celtics,” showing the world that Celtics fans are indeed the best in all of sports. This video just might give you chills.
The top 10
10. Ray Allen breaks an NBA Finals record for most 3 pointers in one game
The Celtics trailed the LA Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals 1 game to 0. After a poor performance in game 1, Ray Allen delivered a performance for the ages in game 2, setting an NBA Finals record for most 3 pointers in a game that still stands today.
9. Ray Allen passes Reggie Miller for first place in 3 pointers made in NBA history
Ray Allen may not be welcome today in Boston due to his unceremonious exit a couple of years ago, but he certainly gave Celtics fans a ton of great moments. One of the most memorable came when he passed Reggie Miller for most 3 pointers all-time in NBA history. The setting was perfect as Miller himself was in the house calling the game for TNT and the Celtics were at home against the hated Lakers.
8. Paul Pierce passes Larry Bird on the all-time Celtics scoring list
This was a tough one for El Mundo staff as “Larry Legend” holds a very special place in the heart of our President and CEO, Alberto Vasallo. But alas, all records are meant to be broken and Paul Pierce has come to be the “Larry Bird” for younger generations of Celtics fans and many Latinos in Boston. On this night, he cemented his legacy passing bird for second all-time in scoring in Celtics history.
7. Rajon Rondo leads Celtics to playoff victory after dislocating elbow (Warning: Graphic content)
Yes, that video warning is certainly warranted. Images of Rondo dislocating his arm still haunt many of us at the El Mundo offices. At the time of the injury, no one thought Rondo would play for the rest of the season, let alone that very same night. Yet play he did that night and he led the Celtics to a rousing victory at home primarily utilizing only one hand. Simply the stuff of legends.
6. Rajon Rondo leads Celtics to a game 7 victory
Despite his recent departure from Boston, Rajon Rondo will always hold a very special place in Boston history. He was never able to assume the mantle of team leader following the dismantling of the Championship Celtics, but he certainly delivered amazing performances when the stakes were the highest.
Stakes don’t get much higher than game 7 in the NBA playoffs and in 2012 against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rondo gave a performance for the ages dropping 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists including two dagger three pointers in the 4th quarter that sealed the deal. It’s worth mentioning, Rondo saved the Celtics from disaster after Paul Pierce fouled out in the 4th quarter and had to watch the end of the game from the bench. The victory sent the Celtics back to the Eastern Conference Finals and set up a rematch with the hated Miami Heat.
5. Pierce returns from injury to nail two big 3 pointers in 2008 NBA Finals vs Lakers
Paul Pierce is the Boston Celtics. For years, Pierce was a great player playing on underachieving teams. In 2008, with the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, everything changed and Pierce was finally surrounded by talent capable of competing for a championship.
In a cruel twist of fate, that was almost all taken away in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the hated Lakers when Pierce went down with a knee injury and was carried off the court. Things looked bad and many felt Pierce might not play again in the series, which would have undoubtedly led to certain defeat. However, Pierce was having none of that and he reemerged from Celtics locker room only moments after his injury in an iconic moment. Pierce checked back into the game to a deafening roar from the home crowd and proceeded to drill back to back three pointers, lifting the Celtics to an improbable Game 1 victory.
Most across the country will forever joke about Pierce being wheeled off the court in a wheel chair, but we in Boston know that Pierce truly exhibited great toughness in the face of extreme adversity… Like a true Celtic
4. Anything’s Possible!!!!
Similar to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett spent most of his career toiling on mediocre teams in Minnesota. Many considered Garnett a great player incapable of team success. That all changed in 2008 when the Celtics blew out the LA Lakers in Game 6 to clinch their 17th championship; Garnett’s first. KG, known to be a very emotional player, didn’t hold back in the post-game interview, and what ensued was an iconic moment in sports television.
3. Pierce outduels LeBron James in game 7
The Celtics bulldozed through the entire league during the 2008 regular season, winning 66 games. Most expected the team to breeze through the Eastern Conference and into the finals but things did not go as planned. The Celtics struggled to finish off the 8 seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first rounded in 7 games and again found themselves in another game 7 against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.
The Celtics looks confused following 3 losses in Cleveland and were banking on home court advantage to save them in game 7. However, with a focused LeBron James on the other team, the Celts needed much more, and Paul Pierce provided it. In a game that drew comparisons to the famed Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins battle of the 80’s, Paul Pierce outdueled LeBron James, scoring 41 points and leading his team to victory in legendary fashion.
2. Celtics overcome largest deficit in NBA Finals history
The Celtics were dead in the water in Los Angeles. Facing the prospect of dropping two games in a row on the road, and with a third game to come, the Celtics looked vulnerable and at risk of letting their championships hopes go up in smoke.
Down 24 points in the second quarter the game looked all but over. However, the Celtics mounted a comeback and slowly chipped away at the Lakers lead. It wouldn’t be until the 4th quarter that they finally overcame the deficit but as time expired it was the Celtics who came out victorious in front of a stunned Hollywood crowd. The victory gave the Celtics a 3-1 lead in the series and set up the crowning achievement for the team only 2 games later.
1. Boston Celtics blowout Lakers to win 2008 NBA Championship
The date was June 17, or 6/17. Important numbers in Celtics lore because of the famed Bill Russell who wore number 6 and John Havlicek who wore number 17. Also it was game 6 of the series and the Celtics were looking to secure their 17th championship.
In what would become the largest margin of victory in a finals clincher, the Celtics blew out the Lakers 131-92 in front of a delirious home crowd. The game was never in doubt and the second half became one major party for all of those in attendance and watching at home. The win marked the culmination of the greatest turnaround in NBA history as the Celtics went from being the worst team in the Eastern Conference the year before to NBA Champions and securing their rightful spot as champions of the basketabll world.
How does this list compare to yours? Share your top moments with us in the comments below and make sure to attend the first ever Boston Celtics Noche Latina presented by El Mundo on March 4th.
Check out the Celtics top 10 plays of the new “Big Three” era by clicking here.
Elvis Jocol Lara is Director of Digital Media at El Mundo, Founder and President of Casa Guatemala and an experienced Marketing professional who has worked with some of the world’s leading brands. A child of Guatemalan immigrants, he was born in Boston and raised in Waltham, MA. Follow him on Twitter @ElChapin