Sports Throwback Thursday: 2012 ECF

Welcome to Sports Throwback Thursday! Today’s throwback Thursday will be a good one. Why? We are going to take it back to 2012. It’s been ten years since we saw the great rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Celtics Big 3 (Pierce, KG, and Allen) versus Miami’s Big 3 (LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh). It’s funny that both teams are currently playing in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Celtics leading the series 3-2. Now, let’s look back at the recap of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. 

This series marked the third straight year that the Heat and Celtics faced each other in the playoffs. They met each other in the Eastern Conference First Round in 2010 (won by the Celtics, 4–1) and in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2011 (won by the Heat, 4–1). In addition, LeBron faced the Celtics for the third straight year in the playoffs. The LeBron-led Cavs also faced the Celtics in 2010 only to be defeated 4–2, which led to James’ arrival on the Heat. In this series, many thought that the Celtics would get “steamrolled” by the Heat. Boy, was so many people wrong. 

In Game 1, behind a big second half, the Heat defeated the Celtics 93–79 to take a 1–0 series lead. Game 2 was very different, with the Celtics starting very strong. Midway through the second quarter, a Rondo jumper extended their lead to 15. However, the Heat cut it to 7 at halftime. By the fourth quarter, the game was tight. With Miami leading 99–96 with 34 seconds left, Allen made a 3 to tie it. It eventually sent the game to OT, with James missing two chances to win the game. Miami would win 115–111 to take a 2–0 series lead. 

In Game 3, the Celtics got strong performances from Rondo, Garnett, and Pierce. LeBron was also hot in the first quarter, scoring 16 points and making 7 of his first nine shots. Celtics outscored the Heat a combined 55–35 in the two quarters as they had an 85–63 lead heading into the fourth. Boston held on for a 101–91 victory to make it 2–1. Game 4 was the same story, with the Celtics hitting several 3’s and putting on a lead as big as 18. Miami rallied back in the third and fourth quarters. The game went to overtime; it’s the second overtime game of the series. Wade missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer, giving the Celtics a 93–91 win to tie the series. 

Game 5 is one of my favorite games of the series because of how hard both teams fought in the game, especially by guys like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. With the Celtics leading by 1 with less than a minute to go, Pierce knocked down a crucial three-pointer over Lebron that gave the Celtics the lead for good. I remember Pierce saying, “he can’t guard me.” Celtics grabbed Game 5 on the road, and the Celtics proceeded to lead the series, 3–2, with a 94–90 win in Game 5. 

Game 6 became the most crucial game for Lebron James’ career. It changed the series’s momentum and the season for the Miami Heat. James had one of his best playoff games, scoring 45 points and getting 15 rebounds; 30 of his 45 came in the first half alone. A one-man show at the TD Garden. He was at ease and looked completely scary to watch. He was in the zone, not smiling, absolutely dominated, and demolished the Celtics. Heat blow out the Celtics in Game 6 with a 98–79 victory to send the series back to Miami for a seventh and deciding game.  

In Game 7, the Celtics started strong, but they ran out of gas by the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. The Celtics never recovered as the Heat booked a return trip to the Finals with a 101–88 Game 7 win in Miami. The game marked the end of the Celtics’ Big 3. It was an emotional moment between Doc Rivers and those players. Miami went on to win the championship by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. 

2012 Playoff Leaders:

PTS: LeBron James (697)

TRB: LeBron James (224)

AST: Rajon Rondo (227)

WS: LeBron James (5.8)

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