The 2007-08 Boston Celtics found themselves atop of the NBA world when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship. The Celtics have not won a title since, and that team they had was filled with talent.
Before that season, that team was destined to win the title. Looking back at that team, former Celtics player Kendrick Perkins believes that the 2007-08 team had one of the best defenses in history.
The 2007-08 Boston Celtics
The Celtics finished the regular season with a 66-16 record. A year before, the Celtics finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 24-58. They posted the best single-season turnaround in NBA history.
The 66 wins were the third-most in franchise history. That team was stacked with talent. When the team acquired All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the team was already a favorite to win the title. With franchise player Paul Pierce, president Danny Ainge was able to piece together an impressive squad. With Rajon Rondo at the point and Perkins at the five position, the Celtics had one of the best starting lineups in the league.
Head coach Doc Rivers knew how to handle a team like the Celtics. They had a bench that could compete with any team in the league. When you have a defensive specialist like Tony Allen coming off the bench, that helps out a lot. That season they had the Defensive Player of the Year in Garnett as well.
There was a reason why Perkins believes this team is one of the best in NBA history.
Shutting down Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the finals
The Celtics defeated the Lakers 4-2 in the finals. That was the team’s first championship since 1986. Bryant had two games where he scored 30 points or more, and the Lakers only won one of those games. The Celtics forced other members of the Lakers to step up, and they were not going to let Bryant beat them.
Tony Allen had the assignment of guarding Bryant in the finals, and Bryant knew he was in for a fight every time. He even said that Allen was the best defender he’s ever faced. When you have rim protectors like Garnett and Perkins, and makes it that much harder for opponents to score.
The top defensive team in the league
Looking at the numbers from the 2007-08 season, the Celtics’ defense finished at the top of multiple defensive categories. Doc River’s team was second in the league in points allowed with 90.3 points per game. They were also third in the league in turnovers allowed with 16.
To have a championship contending team, a.team needs to have success on offense and defense, and that’s what the Celtics had. They had players who could score and multiple defenders who could defend at a high level.
That Celtics team would be one of the top defending teams in the league now if they were playing now. Opponents only shot 42 percent against them, which was first in the league, and they only shot 31 percent, which was also first. So, this team could defend around the perimeter and in the paint. Perkins had a case when he made that statement and that Celtics team will go down as one of the best teams ever.