Marks during the season being erased
Title would be a lasting image
The Magic were one of the teams that seemed to have the Celtics’ number during a turbulent regular season, beating them in three of four meetings, all in the first half of the season.
Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson had a hard time figuring out how the Celtics ripped through the Eastern Conference playoffs after struggling so much in the regular season.
“I don’t know,’’ he said. “I don’t know to talk to you about how they pulled it together. I don’t know how they pulled that together.’’
The last team in franchise history to reach the Finals with fewer wins than the 50 this year’s Celtics had was the 1969 club, which went 48-34 and won the NBA title.
The Celtics have won five playoff games on the road this season, and have clinched three series on their home floor after being eliminated by the Magic at TD Garden last year.
The Celtics went 27-27 to end the season as injuries took a toll. They traded Eddie House, bringing in Nate Robinson from the Knicks, hoping he would provide a spark. They also brought in veteran shooter Michael Finley, adding championship experience to a bench that in the offseason had added Rasheed Wallace, who won a title in 2004.
While they struggled, the Celtics maintained that they could erase their up-and-down regular season with a championship run.
“This is important,’’ said forward Glen Davis. “Not only to me, but to the organization, to the team, to the fans. To go, to do what we did this year, as far as not playing to where we should’ve played, and to be here at this moment feels so good. To go through all those ups and downs, and no matter what persevere.’’
Though four teams in professional sports history recovered from 3-0 holes to win a series, no team has ever done it in the NBA. But Paul Pierce said he never thought about the possibility.
“I never really think negative about losing or being up, 3-0, and something tragic happening,’’ Pierce said. “My whole mind-set is coming into here we’re going to win this game no matter what. This team’s going to walk out of this building with a win. That is my whole mind-set.
“As far as what happened with hockey, this is not hockey. It’s basketball.
“I’m pretty sure as long as this game is being played it will happen one day. I’m just glad we were able to prolong it one more year.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.