The trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen delivered, arguably, the most painful defeats of LeBron James' pro career.
Pierce and James went mano-a-mano in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, with Pierce's Celtics edging James' Cavaliers. There was then a 2010 semi-finals series in which the heavily-favored Cavs fell to the Celtics in six games. James was accused of quitting on Cleveland in the series and a few weeks later, he took his talents to South Beach.
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The bad blood between James and the C's spilled over into James' time in Miami (with James' Heat ousting the C's in 2011 and 2012), but all of that seemed to be in the past considering Allen is now teammates with James and Pierce and Garnett no longer wear green. James and the Heat, however, stoked the fire this week, setting the stage for what should be a continuation of the rivalry - only now between Miami and Brooklyn instead of Cleveland and Boston.
"I think the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'" James said. "I think it's OK. I didn't mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they're leaving ... That's the nature of our business, man. I don't know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can't criticize someone who does something that's best for their family."
number" after Allen decided to sign with Miami over Boston.
While Garnett did not sign as a free agent with Brooklyn, he did waive his no trade clause with the Celtics when the deal was presented to him in late June.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS