A look at the five most memorable moments for the Boston Celtics during calendar year 2013:
The Celtics dropped the first three games of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Knicks, which all but sealed their fate of a first-round exit. Boston managed to win two games to make things interesting, but found themselves down 26 in the second half of Game 6 at TD Garden. After the earliest exit in the Big Three era, Paul Pierce correctly opined, “I'm sure there's going to be a lot of changes here.” Probably more than most could have imagined.
4. Rajon Rondo ACL injury saps year (Jan. 27)
When Rondo injured his knee in a double overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks two days earlier, it was announced as a hyperextended knee. He even played parts of the two overtimes despite the injury. But further testing revealed a partial tear of the ACL, ending Rondo’s season. The news spilled out as the Celtics posted an overtime win over the rival Heat to start a seven-game winning streak. Rondo's loss was simply too much for the team to overcome in the postseason.
The Celtics sent up some fireworks of their own before Independence Day with an unexpected 5 p.m. press release announcing that wunderkind Stevens had been hired as the team’s new head coach. Boston managed to keep its pursuit of the 36-year-old Butler coach under wraps while hammering out a six-year, $22 million pact.
2. Celtics trade Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce to Brooklyn (June 27, 2013)
If the procrastinating Celtics were on the fence about whether to start the roster overhaul process, Doc Rivers’ defection made that decision easier. While this mega-deal wouldn’t be official for another two weeks, the Celtics agreed on draft night to send Garnett, Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in exchange for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Marshon Brooks, and three future first-round draft picks. Coupled with Rivers’ departure, it capped a staggering three-day makeover that radically altered the look of the team and its expectations while ushering out the Big Three era.
1. Doc Rivers dashes for L.A., ushering in rebuild (June 24, 2013)
A nauseating two weeks of 'Will he stay or will he go?' culminated with Rivers ditching a potential rebuild in favor of chasing another title out west. The Celtics secured a 2015 first-round draft pick in exchange for allowing Rivers out of the final three years remaining on his deal, but were clearly stung by his decision to leave after nine seasons in Boston. "My feelings are, I planned on Doc being our coach all along,” said a disappointed Danny Ainge in the immediate aftermath.