Celtics 4, Bulls3
This is an article from the May 11, 2009 issue
MAY 2, 2009
Overtimes,improbable shots, stirring one-on-one battles—and a place in the NBA's, andSI's, pantheon
I've never beenin a series of this magnitude where any game could go either way," saidCeltics guard Ray Allen, sitting at his locker an hour before Boston finishedoff the Bulls with a 109--99 win in Game 7 last Saturday. Allen's second-seededCeltics had been dragged into a playoff-record four overtime games by the No. 7Bulls, drawing unprecedented TV audiences for an opening round. And thoughAllen had scored 51 points in Game 6, he was obsessed by the moves he mighthave made differently to avert Boston's loss in triple OT. "I havenightmares," said Allen. "Those plays haunt me."
What was expectedto be a straightforward series win for Boston turned into six hours, 11 minutesof hellacious back-and-forth drama—including seven overtime periods—that beganwith a 36-point performance by rookie Derrick Rose, which helped Chicago stealGame 1 in OT. The ensuing point guard duel between Rose and Boston's RajonRondo (who averaged 19.4 points, 11.6 assists and 9.3 rebounds) was supersededby an even more spectacular battle between Allen and rival shooting guard andfellow UConn alum Ben Gordon.
For all itssensational moments the series falls short of GOAT status because, unlikeKnicks-Lakers in 1970, say, or Celtics-Lakers in '84, its outcome won't affectthe championship; not even Boston can stop the Cavs in the East. But for sheerentertainment this year's Bulls-Celtics epic ranks second to none.
Breaking News | Real-Time Scores | Daily Analysis
Which owner giveshis team the best shot at winning it all? Clockwise from top left: theMavericks' noisy Mark Cuban, the Patriots' triumphant Robert Kraft, the Lakers'glitzy Jerry Buss or the Angels' groundbreaking Arte Moreno? This week SI.comranks the five best and five worst owners in each of the four major sports.Each owner was evaluated on his willingness to spend money to improve the team;the stability and ability of the front office; the team's culture andinteractivity with fans; and of course success and failure on the field. Plus...
Arash Markazi onthe painful loyalty of longtime Clippers fan Darryl Bailey
Inside the NBA
Image-conscious LeBron James follows the script to win the NBA's Most ValuablePlayer Award
Inside the NFL
Why the Raiders' latest draft class further sickens their loyal fans andepitomizes the team's failure
Inside the NBA
How Celtics star Paul Pierce changed his game and became the unquestionable"Truth"
Get complete coverage of the NHL playoffs, including analysis of key matchupsand nightly roundtable discussions with our panel of NHL experts. Allan Muirlooks at how the Capitals' unheralded rookie goalie, Simeon Varlamov, hasstepped into the postseason spotlight, and also weighs in with his Three Starsafter each night's action. Also, check out Varlamov in our photo gallery ofrookies who have made a postseason impact.
Check it all outat SI.com/bonus
Now on SI.com
For a photo gallery of some of history's greatest NBA playoff series and tofind every article that ever appeared in SI, go to SI.com/vault