WALTHAM, Mass. — As someone who began his career with the New York Knicks, newly acquired Boston Celtics forward David Lee has played his fair share of games at TD Garden.
Lee’s most vivid memory of playing on Causeway Street, as he explained Monday, isn’t exactly a fond one.
The year was 2007. The Celtics, mere months removed from the assembly of the Big Three, had just lost in overtime to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to fall to 11-2 on the young season. The Knicks, meanwhile, had just put together a modest two-game winning streak and apparently felt like talking a bit of trash to their Atlantic Division rivals.
“You remember the infamous game — infamous for us, great for you guys — when you guys had just gotten (Kevin) Garnett, Ray Allen, everybody,” Lee said. “We came in, and I think a couple of our guys gave you some bulletin-board material before the game. Like, ‘Oh, they’re not that good’ or something.”
Bad idea. What followed was a beatdown of epic proportions.
“It was a national TV game,” Lee explained. “I was the sixth man. I think by the time I entered the game, we were already down by 30.”
Boston held New York to fewer than 20 points in all four quarters — including just 10 in the third — en route to an emphatic 104-59 win. It was the Celtics’ largest margin of victory since 1970.
“I just remember,” Lee said, “by the time I got in, I tried to go up and dunk one on the break, and Garnett put the thing, like, (in the) third row. I was just like, ‘This is not a good night for any of us.’ It was a bad night for us. And I just remember the Garden being deafening. You look up, and all of a sudden you’re like, ‘How did we get down 40 points?’ But it’s a great place to play.”
The Celtics, of course, went on to win an NBA championship that season, going a perfect 4-0 against Lee’s Knicks in the process.
“That was one of the best teams I’ve actually played against in the league,” said the 32-year-old, who won a title of his own with the Golden State Warriors last season. “That was a heck of a team. So good defensively. But the Garden is a great home-court advantage, and sports overall in Boston, I know how much they love their sports.”
Lee officially was traded to the Celtics on Monday, with forward Gerald Wallace and guard Chris Babb going to Golden State.
Thumbnail photo via Elise Amendola/Associated Press
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