That took a while.
After 22 years of relative misery, the Boston Celtics can once again claim to be the champions of the basketball world.
It was a series to remember, arguably the best finals post-Jordan. Even though the series was already 2-0 after two games, you can never count Kobe out. After Game Three, some people thought the series was up for grabs.
But a historic comeback by Boston in Game Four and a shaky performance by the Lakers in Game Five foreshadowed a Game Six that turned into be a cakewalk.
The Celtics did not break a sweat in demolishing the Lakers 131-92 to pop the champagne in the Garden for the first time in two decades.
Here are a few thing that I'll remember from this series:
Kevin Garnett finally gets his ring
After what felt like an eternity in Minnesota playing for a mediocre team, KG finally goes the distance. If it wasn't for Garnett, the Celtics wouldn't be where they are right now. Garnett was the key to the greatest turnaround in NBA history and the Celts' rise back to the top. He was the glue that kept this team together.
Paul pierce gets his due
After suffering through the worst seasons a pro athlete could endure the past two years, Pierce is rewarded for keeping his mouth shut. Never in the last last couple of years did he "Pull a Kobe" and make a fuss about being on a crappy team. Without his play, the Celtics would not have gone this far and definitely would not be able to hoist a 17th banner.
Doc Rivers becomes the hero (kinda)
After being ridiculed day in and day out by the Boston media (Yes, I'm looking at you Bill Simmons) Doc Rivers now can say that he outcoached the Zen Master in a Finals series. He did not mess it up and never did something that would jeopardize the championship. He inspired his players to always keep fighting—and that caused the big Game Four turnaround that put Boston in control of the series.
Rondo answers his critics
Coming into the season, the play of Rajon Rondo was the main factor in whether or not the Big Three could go all the way. He did not disappoint, having a great season and playing great basketball during the playoffs. He never seemed rattled and never tried to do too much. His great floor vision ensured that a team could not key in on one player, as Rondo would find the open man.
Boston's Band Of Brothers
That's how I call all the role players of Boston's title team, and I knew none of them before except for Sam Cassell. From Eddie House, to James Posey, to Glenn Davis and all the others, all contributed and performed the role they had to without complaining, all with one goal in mind, hoist the trophy at season's end.
For the 2007-08 Celtics it was not about the personal accolades, or the money or the fame, it was about winning it all. It was never about only "The Big Three." It was about a team, coming together as one, bonding with those 11 other players and going forward to achieve their common goal. To win a NBA title.