Perhaps inspired by the banners covering the 2001-02 postseason media guide, the Celtics were ready to rumble in the 2002 NBA Playoffs. After a 49-win season, Boston won a postseason series for the first time in 10 years by defeating the league’s leading scorer Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference First Round. Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and Kenny Anderson led a balanced attack to take down the Detroit Pistons in the semifinals, helping the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1988. The Celtics took a 2-1 series lead against the New Jersey Nets, which included a thrilling 26-point comeback in Game 3. Sadly, Boston dropped the final three games of the series. Still, the young group of Celtics players showed hunger for a banner of their own.
( C ) NBA/Celtics