Now another generation has stories to tell.
The Celtics ran roughshod over an overmatched Los Angeles Lakers team tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden, winning Game 6 of the NBA Finals, 131-92, to capture the 17th NBA championship in the franchise’s history. Once again, the Boston Celtics are on top of the basketball world.
After returning from Los Angeles with a 3-2 series lead, the Celtics took advantage of their first opportunity to close out a title at home. They played this one to win.
Despite 11 first-quarter points from Kobe Bryant, Boston maintained a 24-20 lead after one. But the second quarter was when the Celtics really did their damage, outscoring the Lakers, 34-15, and essentially putting the game away by halftime.
Boston held Los Angeles to 29 percent shooting in the first half. Meanwhile, the Celtics had 17 assists on 20 field goals, with captain Paul Pierce getting nine by himself. Without Bryant's 14 points (on 4-of-11 shooting), the score (58-35) would have been even more lopsided.
Needing only not to blow a huge lead, the Celtics actually won the third quarter, 31-25. Rajon Rondo had 10 points and 3 assists in the period, running the team out of any potential trouble.
Each of the Big Three lived up to his billing in the game. Pierce, who should be a lock to win Finals MVP, had 9 assists in the first half and finished with 17 points, 10 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Ray Allen, who barely slept for three days to attend to a medical situation with one of his children, hit 7 three-pointers in the game and led all scorers with 26 points. Allen was poked in the eye midway through the first quarter but returned.
And Kevin Garnett was as usual an unstoppable force at home. The Big Ticket got whatever shot he wanted throughout and finished with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers removed Pierce, Allen, and Garnett from the game at the same time, the superstars embracing their coach with 4:01 on the clock and nothing more left to chance.
There were no bright spots for the Lakers, but if you wanted to find something resembling one, you could pick Bryant’s first quarter. Bryant was 4 of 7 for 11 points in the first, with three of those shots from long range.
Bryant finished with 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting. On the bench late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach, fans in section 327 chanted, “Where is Kobe?”
There are no more games for the Celtics. No more grueling road trips. Just a celebration tonight, and a victory parade later this week.
The Celtics may be done, but you haven’t scratched the surface of our celebration coverage tonight. Keep it here as we bring you everything, including video, surrounding Boston’s 17th NBA championship.