In the summer of 2008, I was living in New York City whilst working two different internships between my junior and senior year of college. A friend from school and I shared one of those college dorm rooms they rent out to non-city dwellers for the summer, and our cable connection stopped working on the third day after we moved in. This meant I was boxed into watching the last few weeks of the NBA playoffs at various friends’ dorms/apartments and bars around the city.
My college roommate – who hails from Boston – was in town for the summer, so when the Celtics and Lakers eventually met in the Finals, we agreed to meet up at one of the many “Boston bars” sprinkled throughout the city to watch at least one of the games together. The game we eventually settled on was Game 4, which we would watch at the Riviera Sports Bar & Cafe.
As the Celtics fell behind by five, 10, and eventually 24 points, the place turned into a mausoleum. It was one of those stereotypical “it’s so quiet in here, you could hear a pin drop!” situations. Thinking the game was over, we were getting ready to leave the bar after the third quarter, but a 10-1 Celtics run capped by P.J. Brown (!) throwing down a dunk convinced us to stay. Anyway, Riviera was getting rather lively again. Both the beer and the Irish whiskey were flowing, and the crowd was bubbling with excitement.
A few Eddie House (!!) and Leon Powe (!!!) jumpers later, the Celtics had somehow come all the way back to tie the game, and the bar went into a frenzy. When the Celtics eventually took the lead with about four minutes left in the game, you couldn’t hear anything. You could have been standing next to the amplifier at a KISS concert and it wouldn’t have been louder than this bar.
As the Celtics stretched their lead in the final minutes of the game, the bartenders started playing some typical Boston music, the crowd started chanting “Beat L-A!” and I had to hightail my ass out of there. No way was I watching a bunch of Celtics fans watch Paul Pierce celebrate.