Over 48 hours, the Celtics had endured a sobering defeat, a delayed flight and a sick child, all layered on top of the accumulated aches from a long playoff run and a taut five games in the N.B.A. finals.
By appearances, the least stressful thing they did was methodically dissect the Los Angeles Lakers and finish off a history-making season.
With chants of “Seventeen!” filling the air at TD Banknorth Garden, the Celtics routed the Lakers, 131-92, and ended a 22-year title drought with a six-game finals victory. Sixteen green-and-white banners will soon have company in the rafters.
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce — three titans of their era, all flush with talent but lacking in gratification — will soon have their first championship rings. So will Coach Doc Rivers, who deftly blended the stars’ talents and got the most from a supporting cast that was at times either too young, too old or too untalented.
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