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The Vault

May 11, 2009
May 11, 2009

Table of Contents
May 11, 2009

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
SLIDE SHOW
KENTUCKY DERBY
NBA PLAYOFFS
  • If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you are like Denver's Chauncey Billups, the most serene performer at the toughest times

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The Vault

Celtics 4, Bulls3

This is an article from the May 11, 2009 issue

Best SeriesEver?

MAY 2, 2009
Instant Classic

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.

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NFL
MLB
NBA
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RACING

RATING THEOWNERS

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

FEATUREDWRITERS

JACK McCALLUM

Inside the NBA
Image-conscious LeBron James follows the script to win the NBA's Most ValuablePlayer Award

AUSTIN MURPHY

Inside the NFL
Why the Raiders' latest draft class further sickens their loyal fans andepitomizes the team's failure

JOE POSNANSKI

Inside the NBA
How Celtics star Paul Pierce changed his game and became the unquestionable"Truth"

NHL NEWS

Cold Front
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

PHOTOPhotograph by DAMIAN STROHMEYERDISHING IT OUT Despite some rough treatment from Noah, Rondo had 11 assists in Boston's Game 7 win.PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (DAVIS)PHOTORICHARD MACKSON (BIRD)PHOTOJAMES DRAKE (REED)PHOTOGREG NELSON (CUBAN)PHOTOKIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT/US PRESSWIRE (KRAFT)PHOTOMARCO GARCIA/AP PHOTO (BUSS)PHOTOCHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES (MORENO)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (MCCALLUM)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GASOL)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (DANCER)PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (VARLAMOV)PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (HOCKEY FANS)PHOTOBOB ROSATO (JOHNSON)PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (RONDO)PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (JAMES)PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (SHARP)PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (RYAN)PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (MINE THAT BIRD)PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (DERBY FAN)PHOTO