- Not to be confused with the Big Three (Boston Celtics, 1980–1992).
|The combination GAP in Boston Celtics|
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce.
The Big Three, (nicknamed the Boston Three Party) were a trio of professional basketball players for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from the 2007 to 2012. The "Big Three" consisted of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. All three of those players were selected within the first ten picks. Garnett was selected fifth by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 and announced his trade board move to the Boston Celtics in the July 2007. Pierce was selected tenth by the Boston Celtics in 1998 and has played his whole NBA career for the Celtics (until June 2013). Allen was selected fifth by the Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Milwaukee Bucks) in 1996 and announced his trade board move to the Boston Celtics in the June 2007. The 3 joined in 2007 to win an NBA title. Both Pierce's Celtics and Garnett's Timberwolves had not been successful in the playoffs previously, and their unideal situations caused them to join together in an attempt to win more. Ray Allen on the other hand wasn't treated like the superstar that he was by the Seattle Supersonics, and he wasn't winning there much either (due to a lack of talent on the team outside of him) which caused him to want out. This was the first time in NBA history that 3 superstars had negotiated with each other beforehand and agreed to play with each other on the same team. Each of the players from the Boston Celtics "Big Three" were the franchise scoring leader for the franchise that drafted them.
Kevin Garnett was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. Garnett was named the 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year. Garnett established himself as one of the best 2 way players the game has ever seen, frequently making all star teams and all NBA teams. He also won the MVP in 2004 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.
He played with Minnesota Timberwolves twelve seasons, and Minnesota Timberwolves trade him to Boston Celtics for 2 first round draft picks and 5 players in July 31, 2007.
He played with Milwaukee Bucks seven seasons, played with Seattle Supersonics four seasons. In the summer of 2007, the Seattle Supersonics traded him and Glen Davis to Boston Celtics for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and Jeff Green. Allen is known as one of the best 3 point shooters of all time. Although, he had a very complete skillset, he became more of a spot up shooter after coming to Boston, because of the immense amount of talent on the team. As a result, his scoring averages dropped drastically due to less usage.
Paul Pierce was selected by the Boston Celtics with the tenth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Pierce was a Celtic longer than Allen and Garnett and he was the team Captain. Pierce was the leading scorer in the Big Three Era as he averaged 19.3 PPG during the 5 season stretch. He also had the most All Star appearances during that span with 5.
Pierce's scoring averages dropped from around 26 ppg to 19 ppg as a result of having to share the ball more. During the Big Three era, he also became known as a very good clutch performer.
The Big Three Celtics saw immediate success during their first season as a team. The superstar players were able to adapt to each other's games and put aside their egos to focus on winning. The team amassed 66 wins during the regular season. Although the struggled in the first two rounds, being pushed to 7 games by the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers, they were able to beat the Pistons in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. They proceeded to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, once again in 6 games, with Pierce winning Finals MVP.
In 2009, the Celtics were 2nd in their Conference but Kevin Garnett suffered a injury which sidelined him from the rest of the season, including the Playoffs. This injury caused them to lose to the eventual Eastern Conference champions Orlando Magic in 7 games. The next year, the Celtics were able to make it back to the Finals, but lost to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (who defeated Orlando in five games in the previous year's Finals) in a gruelling 7 game series.
The offseason of 2010 would see LeBron James and Chris Bosh join Dwayne Wade on the Miami Heat to create a younger Big 3. During the 2010-11 season, the Celtics would face the Miami Heat in the 2nd round of the playoffs, and were outmatched, losing in 5 games. During the 2012 season though, the team would bounce back, making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they would once again face the eventual champion Heat. The Celtics would lose again, this time in 7 games, although they at one point held a 3-2 series lead.
Due to tension with the front office and teammate Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen left the team for the Miami Heat. This act would distance him from his Celtics teammates, and brought an end to the Big Three-era in Boston.