Celtics bask in record 17th NBA title
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Two decades after the end of the glorious Larry Bird era, the Boston Celtics capped a remarkable season by claiming a record 17th title as they thrashed the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 in Game 6 of the NBA finals.
When coach Doc Rivers took his 'Big Three' -- Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett -- out of Boston's NBA title-winning game at the same time on Tuesday, they huddled briefly on the sidelines.
"We just said we loved each other," said Rivers. "They all said, 'thank you' and I said, 'thank you' back. It was really a nice moment."
A 131-92 trouncing of the Los Angeles Lakers gave the Celtics a 4-2 series win and delivered the league's most storied franchise its first title since 1986.
Just a year ago, Boston were an embarrassment -- winning an Eastern Conference-worst 24 games during the season. But by acquiring Garnett from Minnesota and Allen from Seattle they immediately became title contenders.
"It feels so great," said veteran Celtic Pierce.
"Just to work so hard for 10 long years being with the Boston Celtics, just going through my ups and downs.
"This is what makes those other moments so sweet, knowing that you were at rock bottom a year ago today and to climb all the way to the top.
"This is a dream come true and I'm going to cherish it forever."
The Celtics rolled through the regular season with an NBA-best 66-16 record but were taken to seven games in the first two rounds of the playoffs by Atlanta and Cleveland.
However, they stopped Detroit in six in the Eastern Conference finals and then outclassed the Lakers in the championship round to win a record 17th title.
"I'm not living in the shadows of the other greats now," said Pierce, who showered Rivers with a bucket of Gatorade in the waning minutes. "I'm able to make my own history with my time here. This is something that I wanted to do.
"If I was going to be one of the best Celtics to ever play, I had to put up a banner and today we did that."
Garnett, an 11-times All Star with Minnesota, scored 26 points and had 14 rebounds in the series finale.
"Other than my kid being born, this has got to be the happiest day of my life," he told reporters.
"I'm going to be hoarse. I don't plan on sleeping for a week. If you're looking for me, personal friends, my number is about to change."
For Allen, a shooting guard who had 26 points on Tuesday after hitting seven of nine from beyond the arc, it had been a trying week. He spent most of the last few days in hospital after his son was diagnosed with diabetes.
"The team played great and I was able to focus in, and the family took care of everything from the hospital perspective," he said.
"I was able to come out here and just play basketball. It's such a wonderful feeling."
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