Boston, MA – The year 2012 was a memorable one for the Boston Celtics. A quarter away from making their third trip to the NBA finals in five years, the C’s gave their faithful a lot to cheer about and a lot to complain about. Now, as the New Year is among us, let’s look back at the positive that the Celtics gave to the diehards. Here is my top 5 most memorable moments from your 2012 Boston Celtics:
5) October 30th 2012: Jeff Green’s return
Although he only scored three points in the season opener against Miami, all from the free throw line, the simple fact that Jeff Green was playing in a NBA game was remarkable. Lost for the 2011-2012 season with an aortic aneurysm in his heart, not only was Green’s NBA career in jeopardy, but his life was at stake. Anyone who has dealt with heart issues knows how serious any surgery is, and Green’s was no different.
In a recent interview with ESPN Green admitted that he struggled with life post-surgery and wasn’t sure what the future would hold. With determination and guts, he fought hard to come back to start the 2012 season, inking a 4 year deal in the offseason that will keep him in Boston. Green and reserve Chris Wilcox both battled the same heart issue. To see them both contributing to the Celtics this season is a positive influence on this team. Green is currently averaging 23 minutes a game, producing 9.7 points per game and 3 rebounds a game so far this season and his production will be key for the C’s during the stretch run, but simply having him back on the court is one of the bright spots for the Celtics in 2012.
4) June 30th 2012: Kevin Garnett signs contact extension.
The future of the Boston Celtics hung in balance as Garnett decided his NBA future. No one would have held it against KG if he decided he wanted to call it a career. A first ballot Hall of Famer, KG doesn’t have much left to prove to the NBA.
If Garnett were to decide to call it quits, the Celtics could look mighty different this season. More likely than not, Paul Pierce would have been gone, Jason Terry wouldn’t have been eager to sign in Boston, and who knows where Rajon Rondo would be right now. Instead KG inked a 3 year, 36 million dollar contract, much to the surprise of Bostonians. Sure, KG could come back for a year, but three more years was a summer Christmas present for those that bleed green. Garnett’s numbers have remained steady this season. He is averaging 15.0 PPG and pulling down 7.1 RPG. More importantly his minutes per game have been cut down by 2 minutes from last year. Let’s hope that number can dip even more, so he will be well rested for another long playoff run.
3) February 8th 2012: Paul Pierce passes Larry Bird on the Celtics’ scoring list.
Who knew that a February home game against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats would be so notable? Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 10:23 left in the third quarter to pass Larry Legend on the all-time scoring list. The record may not mean much, since Pierce only bumped Bird out of the second spot all-time, but to look back at all the Celtics great, Pierce’s accomplishment was outstanding.
Ask any Celtics’ historian about the all-time Celtics and you could have an argument for weeks, even months. Pierce’s place on that list is so tough to dissect. If you look at it through championships, then Pierce is barely cracking the top-10. Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, Sam Jones, John Havlichek, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens and Kevin McHale are all Hall of Famers who won multiple championships while wearing Celtic green.
Pierce on the other hand, has been extremely faithful to the Celtics organization. In a day and age where superstars try to sulk their way out of town (cough,cough Dwight Howard) the fact that Pierce remained steadfast with his loyalty to the C’s is remarkable, especially after suffering through an 18-game losing streak and countless losing seasons.
Say what you want about the man, but Pierce deserves to be in the conversation with Celtics’ legends. He is a professional scorer and is an extremely underrated facilitator. Add his finals MVP and his 10 trips to the All-Star game and you have to respect what Pierce has given to this game.
2) February 28th 2012: Kevin Garnett moves to center.
Who knew the decision to move KG to center would work out for the Celtics so much. After some juggling with his lineup, due to performance as well as injury, coach Doc Rivers decided to move Garnett permanently to center. This move proved to help the C’s as they went on to win 5 straight games, climbing over the .500 mark, and riding the momentum all the way to the Conference Finals. This decision also was a key factor in KG returning for three more seasons. Who knew what would have happened if this move never occurred. Winning definitely makes people happy, especially aging veterans like Garnett who could have easily hung up his sneakers at seasons end.
1) June 6th 2012: Game 5 win in Eastern Conference Finals.
It ended up being their last win of the season, but it was definitely the most memorable. With the series tied at 2, including controversial Miami victories in Games 1 and 2, the Celtics took the bull by the horn with a 94-90 win in South Beach. Garnett scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Celts. Pierce added 19 points, including a dagger from beyond the arc with under a minute left. The C’s would go on to lose the series, but the fact that they were so close to eliminating the Heat, gives the Celtics faithful a glimmer of hope this season.
There are the top 5 Celtics moments of 2012 and here’s to many more memorable moments in 2013.