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Welcome to the third installment of the CelticsLife Awards, which, for the uninitiated, is the CelticsLife writer's choices for the best of the best of the 2016-17 Boston Celtics season. We'll cover a wide variety of categories such as Game of the Year - Regular Season (which this article covers), Best Performance in a Loss, Game of the Year, Play of the Year, and many others, with earlier awards in this series linked at the bottom of the article. We've expanded the awards after the deep run into the playoffs, with awards split into regular season and playoff categories to account for the wealth of great basketball we were treated to this season. So, without further ado, let's dive into the third award's potential winners:

CANDIDATES, GAME OF THE YEAR, REGULAR SEASON

12.20.16 - vs. Memphis Grizzlies (OT) 112-109
  • Career-high for Isaiah Thomas (44 points, and the first of several career highs this season)
  • Al Horford (17 points and 14 rebounds) had one of his best games of the year
  • Avery Bradley chipped in 16 points for good measure


01.28.17 - vs. Milwaukee Bucks (OT) 112-108
  • Game sealed with Jae Crowder sinking all four free throws in the final 30 seconds
  • Bucks' defense of Thomas (37 points, eight assists) forced Cs to find ways to win without him
  • Crowder (20 points, six boards) and Kelly Olynyk (17 points, seven boards) crucial to that end


03.01.17 - vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 103-99
  • Thomas' clutch free throws at the end of the game sealed the win behind his 31 points
  • LeBron James still managed to log a triple-double (28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists)
  • Jae's 17 points and 10 rebounds were key to the win 
  • Al Horford's 10 points and boards nearly got him his own triple-double, falling shy with nine points


03.08.17 - vs. Golden State Warriors 99-86
  • Second time in two years Boston has beaten the Dubs on their home floor - no other team has
  • Arguably most balanced game played in the regular season, with few turnovers or fouls
  • Thomas' 25 and Olynyk's 17 led the way, from the starters and bench, respectively
  • Avery Bradley (12 points), Horford (10 points) and Crowder (9 points, 10 boards) helped
  • Team defense holding Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson scoreless from the field in the fourth key


Justin Quinn: This award was maybe the hardest yet to decide on, but ultimately, I had to go with the Golden State Warriors win in March. Being that it was on their home court for the second season in a row, and that it demonstrated this team is capable of winning against the league’s most dangerous team, I felt this victory did more than any other to raise Boston’s profile to free agents in the regular season. The Cleveland Cavaliers game was a close second, for all the same reasons.

Mark Allison: It’s the big win over the Warriors at the Oracle for me too. Obviously, the Warriors missing Kevin Durant was a huge factor, but for the Cs to go on the road and come out with a win in a game that went down to the wire against that team was pretty cool. That squad had the best regular season in NBA history just a year prior without Durant so knocking them off at home for the second time in two years showed it was no fluke the first time.

Josh Coyne: I have to go with the Warriors win also. This Boston team are a troublesome matchup for the best team in basketball. High-level perimeter defense and a hard nosed, never-say-die attitude mean that they often challenge Golden State but this was actually a truly convincing win. Looking back at these games, it’s hard not to wonder if the Celtics could have given the Dubs a more honest contest in the Finals, should they have made it past LeBron James.

WINNER: Versus the Golden State Warriors, 03.08.17
NEXT UP: Game of the Year, Playoffs

PREVIOUSLY: Best Individual Performance, Regular Season ; Best Individual Performance, Playoffs

For more stories about the 2016-17 season on CelticsLife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.



Photo via Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 6/10/2017 12:29:00 PM Edit
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