Home-court advantage has been key for Celtics in Game 7s
Home-court advantage has been key for Celtics in Game 7s
The Celtics can punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals Monday night if they can put away the Wizards in Game 7 at the Garden.
A common cliche that’s spoken in these instances is that this is why teams try to earn the No. 1 seed -- so that they can play such crucial games at home. Yet how much has the Garden helped teams of late?
In the Celtics’ case, immensely. They’re 4-1 in such games over the past 10 years, while the Bruins have gone 3-4. Here’s a look at the Garden's recent Game 7 history.
2014: Bruins lose to Canadiens, second round
This one was bad from the get-go. Dale Weise scored 2:18 into the game and the B’s fell further behind on a Max Pacioretty second-period goal. Jarome Iginla scored the only goal for the Bruins in what would be his last game with the team before leaving in free agency, but the Habs put the game away with a third-period power play tally.
At that point, one couldn’t blame the Garden crowd for being a bit dejected. Everyone in the building knew that the Bruins weren’t getting two more past Carey Price.
Also, the handshake line wasn't great.
2013: Bruins beat Maple Leafs, second round
The ultimate was-this-a-comeback-or-a-choke game, a Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin line allowed goals on its first two shifts of the third to give Toronto a 4-1 lead. The B’s stormed back, scoring three goals in the final 9:18 to tie it before Patrice Bergeron won the game in OT.
2012: Bruins lose to Washington, first round
Coming off a Stanley Cup victory, the Bruins looked like the best team in the NHL from November through December, which saw them go 21-3-1.
Yet the Bruins’ up-and-down season would end in confusingly bad fashion. Facing a team coached by freaking Dale Hunter, the B’s struggled to get chances against rookie Braden Holtby, who it turned out was really good. Washington took a 3-2 series lead before the B’s forced a Game 7, but Joel Ward scored in overtime to eliminate the B’s. Nobody knew at the time, but that would be Tim Thomas’ final game as a Bruin.
2012: Celtics beat 76ers, second round
Paul Pierce fouled out in the fourth quarter, but this game wasn’t about Pierce. It was about Rajon Rondo, who was an absolute monster down the stretch.
Though offensively quiet for much of the night, Rondo had 11 fourth-quarter points as part of an 18-point, 10-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.
2011: Bruins beat Canadiens (first round) and Lightning (ECF)
Biased here, but you won’t attend a better sporting event than Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference finals. The Garden was wild and terrified at the same time as the teams skated to a scoreless opening 40 minutes. The play to set up Nathan Horton’s game-winner -- the game’s only goal -- should go down as one of the great moments in the Bruins’ storied history.
The win was one of three Game 7 victories for Boston in the postseason, two of which were decided by Horton game-winners and two of which were Tim Thomas shutouts.
2010: Bruins lose to Flyers, Eastern Conference semifinals
Home ice couldn’t save a team that seemed destined to lose in historic fashion.
The Bruins, decimated by injuries, became the third team in NHL history to hold a 3-0 series lead and lose the next four. The beginning of the end came when David Krejci (wrist) was lost for the rest of the postseason during Boston’s Game 3 win.
After Philly took Games 4, 5 and 6, the Bruins took a 3-0 Game 7 lead at the Garden before collapsing one more time. The loss prompted the B’s to make an offseason splash by trading Dennis Wideman in a deal for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.
2009: Celtics beat Bulls (first round), lose to Orlando (second round)
Ticket-holders got their money’s worth in this series, which featured a whopping seven overtimes. Two days after the C’s failed to clinch in a one-point, triple-overtime Game 6 loss, Ray Allen scored 23 points in a 109-99 win at the Garden,
Yet the Celtics’ biggest issue eventually got up to them. Playing without Kevin Garnett due to a leg injury suffered in February, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead but fell silent offensively in Games 6 and 7. Pierce and Rajon Rondo were held to just 16 and 10 points in Game 7, respectively.
2009: Bruins lose to Hurricanes (second round)
After finishing first in the Eastern Conference in the regular season, the 2008-09 Bruins looked headed for a disappointing finish when they fell behind, three games to one, in the second round against the No. 6 Hurricanes.
A Tim Thomas shutout in Game 5 and a road win in Game 6 sent the series to a seventh game, one that looked promising for the Bruins when Byron Bitz opened the scoring in the first period.
Dennis Seidenberg assisted a Rod Brind’Amour goal to tie the game, however, and old friend Sergei Samsonov gave Carolina a 2-1 lead in the second. Milan Lucic would pull the Bruins even with 6:19 remaining in regulation, but a Scott Walker overtime goal -- also assisted by Seidenberg -- ended Boston’s season.
2008: Celtics beat Hawks (first round) and Cavaliers (second round)
For all the sentiment that the Pierce-Garnett-Allen-Rondo Celtics could have won more titles than they did, they came a game away from being a one-and-done in their lone championship season.
Boston blew out the Hawks in Games 1, 2 and 5, but close defeats in the others led to a do-or-die, series-deciding game at the Garden. The C’s used huge first and third quarters to take an easy 99-65 win to advance and face the Cavs.
Naturally, it didn’t get any easier from there. The home team won every game of that series, and unlike Game 7 against the Hawks, the finale against Cleveland was a nail-biter. LeBron James scored 45 points in a game in which he and Paul Pierce (41 points) went back and forth throughout the night. Pierce sealed the win with a pair of free throws after the Cavs brought it to within three with less than 10 seconds remaining.