The Celtics started Rajon Rondo, Pierce, Ray Allen, Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, and led the league in most defensive categories on their way to a 66-16 season. Defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau joined head coach Doc Rivers’ staff, and the addition of Thibodeau and Garnett, the Defensive Player of the Year changed the Celtics from a porous defensive team to the NBA’s best, most cohesive unit.
Normally, an NBA team has to go through a growing process, losing in the playoffs a couple years before gaining the experience to finally win an NBA championship. The 2007-2008 Celtics, though, took their lumps and gained their experience in two grueling seven-game series to start the NBA playoffs.
By the time the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, they were a seasoned postseason team due to their tough series’ against the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics beat the Pistons in six games, setting up a revival of the Celtics’ decades-old rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the Finals, the Celtics overcame the favored Lakers in six games, including a Game 4 comeback from a 24-point second-half deficit that was the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. Restoring Boston to the glory days, the 2007-2008 Celtics won the franchise’s 17th championship.