When he coached the Celtics during their New Big Three heyday, Doc Rivers was fond of saying that his stalwart starting five – Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins – had never lost a playoff series together.
Such a statement might require an asterisk or at least further explanation, but for a long time it was true. The Celtics were bounced by the Magic in 2009 when Garnett was out with a knee injury, and they lost the 2010 Finals to the Lakers after Perkins’s knee gave out in Game 6.
But that group won its first seven series together when all five players were healthy, which is impressive.
Nine years removed from handing Banner 17 together(yes, it is been that long) it seems happy nostalgia is settling in for that group. There was talk of a summer reunion in Europe, and the Celtics plan to honoe them next season. And Monday night on TNT, they will have another reunion of sorts, though one that further confirms that Ubuntu – the word the team used that season to describe their uncommon unity – has not fully carried over into their post-Celtic careers.
During TNT’S coverage of Monday’s Warriors – Jazz playoff game at 9 P.M., Garnett – whose “Area 21” segments on the broadcasts have a been a joy for NBA junkies this season – will be joined by four of his former Celtics teammates: PP, Perkins, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and …
Allen, who along with Pierce and Garnett made up that NEW Big Three, will not participate.
This probably is not so surprising. While Perkins was the first of the five to leave when he was traded to OKC for Jeff Green in February 2011, the era effectively ended when Allen chose to sign with the Rival Miami Heat in July 2012
That left damaged feeling in his wake- the Celtics reportedly offered more money – and the scars apparently remains. When plans for a reunion this summer organized by Rondo became public, it was not a total surprise that Allen was excluded.
Regarding the “Area 21” gathering, the first guest Garnett had lined up were Davis and Perkins. Rondo and Pierce became available when their teams were eliminated from the playoffs. They are the four teammates with whom Garnett keeps in closest touch.
Garnett has not had more than three guests on “Area 21” at any other time, and the network did not want to push past four this time.
It will be interesting to see whether they address Allen’s Absence. “Area 21” has a casual, off-the-cuff vibe in which Garnett’s charisma – and the respect his peers have for him – is always evident. The result feels like a candid, authentic peek at how NBA personalities interact with their guard down behind the scenes.
It should be a treat for Celtics fans, even with – or perhaps because of – one notable absence. You know these four will have some anecdotes to share.
Miss You 20078 BIG 4.