It seemed to be a signature ending for the Big Three. They were soundly defeated by the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last June, unable to compete in the final quarter after a spirited first three. A younger, more talented, and perhaps hungrier team had stolen the series by winning the final two games.
In that fourth quarter, Celtics coach Doc Rivers removed all of his veteran players, one by one, and each went through a series of hugs and handshakes, starting with Rivers, the leader of the franchise, the face of Celtics basketball. The Big Three Era had had a five-year run, resulting in one NBA title, another appearance in the Finals, and this run to the Eastern finals.