The 2009 playoff series between the Bulls and Celtics will go down as one of the most exicting in NBA History. The seven-game series featured the Rookie of the Year in Derrick Rose, future Hall of Famers in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce (Kevin Garnett missed the series with a knee injury),rising stars in Rajon Rondo and Joakim Noah. The series included seven overtime periods in four different games, five games were decided by three points or less, and the teams alternated wins from Games 3 to 7.
And that playoff series is what Bulls fans will remember most about the best sharpshooter of his generation also known as Ray Allen. Allen averaged 23.4 points on 45 percent shooting in the series. Those numbers alone would have been impressive, but they are even more impressive when you consider that Allen had a dreadful Game 1, scoring just four points on 1-for-12 shooting while missing all six of his 3-point attempts.
In Game 6 he would have arguably the best game of his life. Allen scored 29 points in the first half, one more than the rest of his team did before halftime. But the fun was just getting started. Allen scored eight points on three makes during a 13-2 run early in the fourth that tied the game at 91 a piece. His jumper with 1:49 left gave the C’s a five-point lead before Brad Miller heroics sent the game to overtime. Allen missed his only attempt in the first overtime, then started 0-for-2 in the second overtime. Then Allen went back to work.
With the Celtic’s down three, Allen’s foot was on the line on a long jumper over Joakim Noah, meaning Boston still trailed by one, 116-115, with 20 seconds left. After a pair of Miller free throws the Celtics had one last chance to push the game to a third overtime. Out of a timeout, Allen used a Pierce screen to free himself on the left wing, and his pull-up triple over Kirk Hinrich was good to tie the game at 118 apiece.
Allen made his only attempt in the third overtime, but the Bulls pushed ahead on Noah’s memorable strip of Pierce and fast-break dunk. That sent things to a Game 7 back in Boston, but Allen’s historic performance remains one of the best in recent memory. He played 59 of a possible 63 minutes and finished with 51 points on 18-32 FG.
The Celtics would go on to win Game 7 at Boston and eliminate the youthful Bulls after a epic first-round series.