Countdown To The 2018 NBA Finals - No. 10: 2008 Lakers vs. Celtics
As of May 22, 2018 – the start of this countdown – we’re officially 10 days away from the NBA Finals. So with that in mind I started thinking about the best Finals since I really remember started watching the games. I was born in 1987, which basically goes in line of remembering Jordan’s first trip to Finals in 1991. So we’ll use that as our starting point. What were the 10 best NBA Finals since 1991. Each day we’ll reveal one as we countdown to No. 1 on the start of the NBA Finals.
No. 10 – 2008 Finals – Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 2
MVP: Paul Pierce
Notable players: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo
Coaches: Doc Rivers (Celtics), Phil Jackson (Lakers)
Best game: Game 2 (Celtics win 108-102)
Biggest Moment: The Celtics erased a 24-point deficit in Game 4. The Lakers were able to jump out to a 35-14 lead in the first quarter, which is the largest first-quarter lead in NBA history. The Celtics had five guys in double figures, but a big reason there was a comeback was due to James Posey and Eddie House off the bench. They scored 18 and 11 respectively, while the Lakers bench combined to score 15 points total. The Celtics didn’t lead until there was about 4 minutes left in the game when Eddie House hit a jumper. They would go on to win the game 97-91 and take a 3-1 series lead.
Background: This cracks the top-10 for me due to the comebacks, close games and the background here. You had the Celtics making the Finals with their version of a ‘Big 3′ when they gained Garnett and Allen. At the same time this was the first trip back for the Lakers since they lost to the Pistons in 2004 and then traded Shaq to Miami and eventually brought in Pau Gasol from Memphis. Throw in the history between the two franchises and you have a pretty easy setup for a good Finals.
Historical standpoint: From a historical standpoint this was important. First, it gave Pierce, Allen and Garnett their first titles. This was especially key for Garnett, who was constantly compared to Tim Duncan but always had the caveat of not having the title. At the same time this showed that Kobe could lead a team to the Finals without Shaq. He had fought for years trying to get out from Shaq’s shadow and this at least got him back to the Finals. From strictly a Celtics standpoint, Pierce getting his title elevated him to the next tier of guys within the organization. You also had the biggest comeback and the biggest first quarter lead within the series.
Video highlights from the series: