Boston Celtics Rewatch Part 4: The Celtics break LeBron in 2010

The Boston Celtics ended LeBron James time in Cleveland back in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 6. An iconic game in Celtics history Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics ended LeBron James time in Cleveland back in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 6. An iconic game in Celtics history Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics returned home for Game 6 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals up 3-2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston was ready to send LeBron James home for the second time in three years and continue their surprising run in the playoffs. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85 to punch their ticket to the Conference Finals, and they ended James’ first tenure in Cleveland.

We at the Houdini thought we would highlight a magical night in Celtics history that saw the team officially break LeBron and send him out of Cleveland (this is the only game we are featuring from the 2010 NBA Finals run).

Some background heading into the game is that the Boston Celtics were not supposed to be in this position. The Cs only won 50 games in 2010, and they were the fourth seed heading into the postseason. Although the Celtics had won a title in 2008, the experts did not predict the Cs to go on a deep run. The Celtics proved everyone wrong, and it started in this series against the Cavaliers. When Boston defeated the Cavs 120-88 in Game 5 on the road to go up 3-2 in the series, the fact that a 50-win Celtics team was about to take down a Cavaliers team that had two seasons in a row with over 60 wins was absurd.

The 2010 Celtics were motivated to prove the doubters wrong, and Game 6 was the start of their run. The Celtics received strong performances from Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, and they pulled away in the second half. Boston closed out the Cavaliers at home in front of a raucous crowd.

This game is iconic because it was the last game that James played before joining the Miami Heat. Every Celtics fan can remember the joy they felt watching James take off his Cavaliers jersey in disgust after losing.

Now let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.

Biggest moment of the game: Rasheed Wallace/Kevin Garnett back-to-back plays to cap off a fourth-quarter run for the Boston Celtics

When the Celtics needed one final push in the fourth quarter of Game 6, Rasheed Wallace and Garnett stepped up in a big way. The run started when the Celtics were up by nine with six minutes to go. The first play was a big three-pointer from Wallace on a feed from Paul Pierce. Following the shot, Mike Breen let out his iconic saying, “Bang.” On the next possession, Tony Allen got a steal that led to a thunderous fast-break dunk from Garnett. Rondo dropped off the pass, and Garnett threw it down to give the Celtics a 12-point lead.

The run was the most important of the game, as it put the Celtics in the driver’s seat. The Celtics never looked back following the run as they held on for the win.

Star of the game: Rajon Rondo

By 2010, Rajon Rondo had become a legit All-Star caliber player for the Celtics, and his value had risen. By this time, Rondo had started his run of having ridiculous stat lines that featured high numbers of assists. In Game 6 against the Cavaliers, Rondo put his entire skillset on display as he had 21 points, 12 assists, and five steals.

Rondo was excellent in this game, and it featured many peak Rondo plays. He saw the floor phenomenally in this game, and he got his teammates involved early. Man, do I miss Peak Rondo on the Celtics.

Winners of the game: Rajon Rondo/Kevin Garnett/Rasheed Wallace

Besides Rondo, who is obviously a winner in this game, Garnett and Wallace had solid performances. Garnett was the C’s leading scorer in Game 6 with 22 points, which was his first 20-point game of the postseason up to that point. The Boston Celtics big man also chipped in 12 rebounds and three assists.

Wallace was also great for the Celtics in this game, as he provided a spark off the bench. Wallace had 13 points off the bench, and he shot 50% from 3-point range. The big man was excellent for the Celtics during the 2010 playoff run, and it’s a shame that he didn’t get rewarded with a title.

Losers of the game: Ray Allen/Paul Pierce/Cavalier fans

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are losers in this game for the Boston Celtics because they effectively didn’t show up. Allen and Pierce combined for 21 points, and they shot terribly from the field. The duo put a lot of pressure on Garnett and Rondo to carry the load offensively.

Cavaliers fans are also losers in this game because it was the last time that James played for them at the time. For many years until James eventually returned and won them a title, they were haunted by the image of him leaving and taking his jersey off.

Impact of the game

The impact of this game for the Celtics is that it shifted the entire NBA. After the Celtics broke LeBron, which cannot be denied, he went and formed a superteam with the Miami Heat. The decision to join the Heat changed the NBA forever, which makes this an important game in NBA history.