It’s Thursday! Do you know what that means? It’s Sports Throwback Thursday! Today’s throwback will be about the 2002 NBA Playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 between the New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics.
The series between the Nets and Celtics was something fresh and new because both teams haven’t made the Conference Finals in so many years. It’s been almost 20 years since they faced off, which is crazy to think about it. Game 3 stands alone as the most memorable game of the series. I remember watching this game on NBC (which I still miss), and Mike Breen was the play-by-play announcer for the game. The Nets had the best record in the NBA, and they went to the 4th quarter with a 21-point lead.
During the huddle, Celtics forward Antoine Walker was yelling at his teammates, particularly Paul Pierce, who was in his early to mid-20s. Walker galvanizing his team and calling them out proved to be the game’s turning point. Celtics came out of the 4th quarter and rallied back to beat the Nets, 94-90. Celtics took a 2-1 lead in the series, but they lost the remaining three games of the series. But still, it’s Game 3 that we talk about in this game. It is one of the greatest comebacks in the NBA Playoffs and certainly in the history of the Boston Celtics. I hated the comeback because I was rooting for the Nets in the series. Besides, I can’t root for any Boston teams.
Paul Pierce finished the game with 28 points and four assists. Antoine Walker had 23 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists. The Nets would go to the NBA Finals but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in four games. 2002 became the final year of the NBA on NBC coverage.