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SoB Game(s) of the Year: Celtics-Bulls First Round Playoff Series

We here at Sports of Boston are looking back at the year that was in 2009, and will be issuing honors for Boston’s Player of the Year, Game of the Year, and Story of the Year, in the 2009 Sports of Boston Awards Show. In 2008’s inaugural Show, one of the most painful losses in Boston sports history was honored, as the Giants ended the perfect season and took down the Patriots in our 2008 Game of the Year.

In 2009, the Celtics and Chicago Bulls locked horns in an epic playoff series that was the clear winner of the 2009 Game(s) of the Year award. I say “games” because it was hard to pick just one game without including the rest of the series. Remarkably, the Celtics won the series 4-3 without Kevin Garnett.

Allow me to briefly recap each game:

Game 1 in Boston: Chicago 105, Boston 103, OT

  • Derrick Rose scores 36 points with 11 assists in playoff debut
  • Paul Pierce misses a free throw that would’ve won the game in regulation
  • Ray Allen finishes 1-12 from the field

Game 2 in Boston: Boston 118, Chicago 115

  • Ray Allen (30 points) duels Ben Gordon (42 points), hits game-winning three-pointer
  • Rajon Rondo holds Derrick Rose (10 points, seven assists) in check, goes for triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists)
  • Glen “Big Baby” Davis fills in for Garnett, scores career-high 26 points with nine rebounds

Game 3 in Chicago: Boston 107, Chicago 86

  • The least-competitive game of the series, Celtics appear to take control
  • Paul Pierce finishes with 24 points in 28 minutes
  • Rajon Rondo goes crazy again: 20 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals

Game 4 in Chicago: Chicago 121, Boston 118, 2OT

  • Rajon Rondo plays 55 minutes, finishes with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists
  • Derrick rose nearly goes for triple-double: 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists
  • Ray Allen (28 points) hits a three to force OT, Ben Gordon (22 points) hits a three to force a second OT

Game 5 in Boston: Boston 106, Chicago 104, OT

  • Paul Pierce (26 points) hits game-winning shot with 3.2 seconds left
  • Brad Miller misses two tying free throws with 2.0 seconds left
  • Kendrick Perkins is a beast: 16 points, 19 rebounds, seven blocks ZERO fouls

Game 6 in Chicago: Chicago 128, Boston 127, 3OT

  • NBA record: Fourth game in a single playoff series that went to OT
  • Ray Allen scores career playoff-high 51 points
  • Paul Pierce, Glen Davis, and Kendrick Perkins all foul out in OT periods

Game 7 in BostonBoston 109, Chicago 99

  • Celtics bench wakes up: Brian Scalabrine scores eight points, Eddie House scores 14 points on 4-4 shooting
  • Celtics go on 22-2 run to end first half after trailing 37-30
  • Referee makes bizarre call in fourth quater, awards Ben Gordon (33 points) an extra point from a shot he took in the first half 

Wow.

Celtics/Bulls Supporters

“One of the greatest series’ I’ve ever watched. With so many games going down until the final shot it was a series for the ages. It almost felt like it was the NBA Finals. The roller-coaster ride of a series pulled in fans from all sides, making it even more thrilling.” – SoB’s Chris

“It is impossible to single out just one game of this historical series. The only way to judge it is on a whole.
 
The Celtics, playing without Kevin Garnett, were pushed to the absolute limit by a younger and faster Bulls team. In a seven game series,a league record four games went to overtime, including the epic 3OT game 6 (where Ray Allen scored 51 points) that was won by Chicago and forced a game 7. After all of the overtime games, Boston was victorious 109-99 in game 7 to advance to the semi-finals.
 
The series was a statement by the young Bulls squad, who showed that they could hang with the defending champs and it gave them the opportunity to showcase the future of the NBA in arguably the greatest playoff series of all time.” – SoB’s Pete

Runner-Up

Celtics vs. Magic: Game 5

“With the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic tied at 2-2, the Boston Celtics needed an unlikely hero to lead them to a victory in Game 5 and Glen Davis did just that. With 22 points and 7 rebounds, Big Baby led the Celtics from 14-down in the fourth quarter to a 92-88 victory and 3-2 series lead.” – SoB’s Erikk

Other Nominees: Patriots-Colts (Colts win 35-34), Patriots-Titans (Patriots win 59-0), Bruins-Hurricanes Series (Hurricanes win series 4-3)

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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