Although a lot has changed over the last eight years, the most recent playoff matchup between the Celtics and Bulls serves as a reminder that anything can happen once the postseason tips off. Boston entered its first-round series against Chicago in 2009 as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, yet the Bulls pushed the Celtics to the limit, making for one of the best playoff series in NBA history.
Check out some highlights in the video below.
It took the Celtics, who entered the playoffs as the defending NBA champions, the full seven games to knock off the Bulls. Boston went 62-20 in the regular season — the Cleveland Cavaliers earned the No. 1 seed with a 66-16 record — while Chicago finished an even 41-41. Both teams quickly learned that those records didn’t matter, though, as the Bulls took Game 1 at TD Garden in an overtime thriller.
In fact, four of the seven games went to OT, with Game 4 going to double-overtime and Game 6 going to triple-overtime. The Bulls forced a decisive Game 7 with a 128-127 win in Game 6 despite Ray Allen’s 51 points for the Celtics, but Boston emerged victorious in the winner-take-all showdown.
Of course, you’re probably sitting there saying to yourself, “What does this have to do with the 2017 playoffs?” The Celtics’ Big Three of Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce is long gone. Rajon Rondo is on the other side of things now as a member of the Bulls. And each team’s best player — Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls — still were in college when Boston squeaked by Chicago in ’09.
The short answer: nothing at all.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t reminisce about an absolutely fascinating series that tested the Celtics, who ended up losing that year to the Orlando Magic in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.