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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Boston Celtics within the NBA Finals: Info, Figures, Frivolities and Implausible Finishes historical past 17 titles russell

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It’s a reality: No group has achieved as a lot within the NBA Finals because the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles Lakers followers will disagree, however the Celtics have essentially the most championships of any franchise in a single metropolis, they’ve received a much better proportion of Finals than the Lakers have, and Boston owns LA of their head-to-head Finals conferences.

As we brace for a Finals showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, we provide up this historic evaluate of how all 17 championship banners made it to the TD Backyard rafters, in addition to how others didn’t.

Crew data

2024 is the Celtics 23rd journey to the Finals.

They’ve received 17 and misplaced 5.

Longest streak: Eight straight championships, 1959-66.

The Cs misplaced their final two appearances, 2010 and 2022, marking the one time the franchise had misplaced consecutive Finals sequence.

Different prime title winners within the NBA:

  • Lakers 17-15 report
  • Warriors 7-5
  • Bulls 6-0
  • Spurs 5-1

These 5 franchises have mixed to seize 52 of 77 (67.5%) league championships thus far. No different group has greater than 3 titles.

Longest championship drought: Sacramento Kings, who received their solely title again in 1951 after they have been the Rochester (N.Y.) Royals.

Present franchises which have by no means received the NBA title: Hornets, Suns, Nets, Magic, Jazz, Pacers, Timberwolves, Clippers, Pelicans, Grizzlies.

Celtics vs. Lakers all-time

They’ve met within the Finals 12 occasions, with the Celtics main 9-3.

Invoice Russell was 7-0 vs. the Lakers.

All-time Lakers nice Elgin Baylor was 0-7 in Finals sequence vs. Boston. His working mate, Jerry West, was 0-6 vs. the Celtics (and nonetheless was chosen as The Emblem).

Between 1948 and 1954, the Lakers received 5 titles enjoying in Minneapolis, a good distance from Los Angeles. They moved to LA in 1960 however misplaced seven straight Finals earlier than lastly profitable a championship there.

Once they received in 1972, it was sarcastically after hiring former Celtics Invoice Sharman as head coach and KC Jones as assistant coach.

Chamberlain vs. Russell

Russell vs. Chamberlain occurred in two Finals.
Picture by Dick Raphael/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures

Particular person winners

These six Celtics have received extra rings than every other NBA gamers all-time.

  • Invoice Russell 11-1
  • Sam Jones 10-1
  • John Havlicek 8-0
  • Tom Sanders 8-0
  • KC Jones 8-0
  • Tom Heinsohn 8-1

Secure to say the 1956 draft day commerce during which Boston acquired Russell from the St. Louis Hawks was one of the vital consequential offers in NBA historical past.


The Finals Most Priceless Participant award was instituted in 1969. The Celtics beat the Lakers in seven, however the MVP trophy went to LA’s West, who averaged 38 factors, 5 rebounds and seven assists. It didn’t go to Boston player-coach Russell, who averaged 9/21/5 whereas enjoying all 48 minutes of all seven video games at age 35. At present the trophy is named the Invoice Russell Finals MVP Award.

Celtics who’ve since received FMVP: John Havlicek, 1974; JoJo White, 1976; Cedric Maxwell, 1981; Larry Chook, 1984 and 1986; Paul Pierce, 2008.

Russell vs. Chamberlain

The rivals confronted off in eight playoff sequence, with Russell profitable seven. Two of these have been within the Finals, with Invoice’s Celtics taking down Wilt’s San Francisco Warriors in 1964 and Wilt’s LA Lakers in 1969.

1957 – Celtics 4, St. Louis Hawks 3

Russell and Heinsohn have been rookies and Cousy was named Most Priceless Participant this season because the Celtics made the Finals for the primary time. After falling behind 2-1, Boston rallied to a 3-2 sequence lead, however a 96-94 St. Louis dwelling win arrange sport 7 at Boston Backyard. The sport went to double additional time, and Cousy and backcourt mate Sharman have been terrible, combining to make simply 5 of 40 pictures. However Heinsohn saved the season with 37 factors and 23 rebounds, whereas Russ added 19 and 32. The sequence ended when the Hawks, with no timeouts and down two, threw a court-length inbounds cross off the backboard the place they have been capturing. Hawks’ star Bob Pettit tried for the putback, however the ball rolled across the rim and out.

1958 – Hawks 4, Celtics 2

On this rematch, Russell, Sam Jones and Heinsohn all suffered their one Finals loss, as did Crimson Auerbach as head coach. Russell injured an ankle, missed video games 4 and 5, and was solely in a position to go 20 minutes in sport 6. Pettit scored 50 within the closeout win, 110-109.

1959 – Celtics 4, Minneapolis Lakers 0

After the 52-20 Celtics survived a seven-game East finals with the Syracuse Nationals (now the Sixers), the championship match was no contest. The 33-39 Lakers had upset the first-place Hawks within the West however have been swept within the Finals. Lakers rookie Baylor averaged 22 factors and 12 boards, however Heinsohn, Sharman and Frank Ramsey all averaged greater than 22 factors and Russell pulled down practically 30 rebounds per sport.

1960 – Celtics 4, Hawks 3

Déjà vu as Boston once more wanted seven to prime St. Louis. The Hawks received at dwelling to tie it 3-3, however the Celtics received sport 7 comfortably, 122-103, behind 24 factors from Ramsey and 35 rebounds for Russell. For the sequence, Heinsohn was the main scorer with 22 factors an evening whereas Russell averaged 25 rebounds. Pettit countered with 26 and 15 per sport.

1961 – Celtics 4, Hawks 1

Assembly for the fourth time in 5 years, the Celtics had their best matchup of all with the Hawks. Pettit’s 31 factors and 24 rebounds led St. Louis to a win in sport 3, however that was all they may salvage. Within the closeout sport, Russell led everybody with 30 factors and 38 boards. Heinsohn averaged 23 as Boston’s main scorer for the sequence. Cliff Hagan, one of many gamers Boston had traded for Russell again in 1956, was the Hawks’ chief at 29 PPG. The Hawks haven’t made the Finals since then; they moved to Atlanta in 1968 and ultimately shifted to the Jap Convention.

1962 – Celtics 4, LA Lakers 3

This postseason was the closest the Celtics got here to dropping throughout their eight-year reign. They went seven video games within the East with the Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State) however received the finale 109-107 by holding Wilt to 22 factors (he averaged 50.4 PPG that season) and getting a last-second jumper from Sam Jones. Within the Finals, LA grabbed sport 3 when West made a steal and buzzer-beating layup and took a 3-2 lead when Baylor dropped 61 factors (nonetheless the NBA Finals report) in Boston Backyard. The Cs received at LA to power sport 7 again dwelling, during which LA’s Frank Selvy missed a title-winning shot on the finish of regulation. Boston received in additional time, led by Russell’s 30 factors and 40 rebounds.

1963 – Celtics 4, Lakers 2

The drama this time was within the East when Boston wanted 47 from Sam Jones to win sport 7 versus the Royals. The NBA Finals have been extra routine. Boston received sport 4 at LA to take a 3-1 lead, however like in ’62, LA received sport 5 on the Backyard behind Baylor’s large evening (45 factors, 20 rebounds). Nevertheless, the Celtics ended the drama in sport 6 at LA, 112-109. Baylor and West mixed to common 63 PPG for the sequence, however Sam, Heinsohn and Russell topped that by averaging 68 mixed factors.

1964 – Celtics 4, San Francisco Warriors 1

The Warriors had moved west from Philly and created a Twin Towers assault by drafting 6’11” Nate Thurmond, a future Corridor of Famer. Nevertheless, that couldn’t decelerate the Celtics juggernaut. Boston received the primary two video games at dwelling, break up two in San Francisco, then completed the sequence again dwelling, 105-99. Sam Jones scored 21 per sport to guide Boston. Wilt tallied 29 factors and 28 rebounds per sport within the sequence, whereas Russell averaged 11/25 with 5 assists.

1965 – Celtics 4, Lakers 1

Jerry West tried to maintain his Lakers afloat on this sequence, averaging 34 factors, however his working mate Elgin Baylor missed the complete sequence with an damage. Boston romped in sport 1 at dwelling, 142-110, and closed out the sequence with a 129-96 demolition. Sam Jones led the Cs with 28 PPG. Lakers’ second-stringer Don Nelson was minimize after the season and signed with Boston. This may matter in 1969.

1966 – Celtics 4, Lakers 3

Crimson Auerbach introduced he would retire from teaching after the season, giving the league one final attempt to beat him. They didn’t miss it by a lot. Within the first-round best-of-five, the Celtics needed to rally from down 2-1 vs. the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings). Within the Finals, the Lakers rode West’s 41 to a sport 1 upset in Boston, solely to see the Celtics get well with three straight wins. As soon as once more, Baylor (41 factors) saved LA alive in sport 5, and the Lakers additionally took sport 6 at dwelling. The Celtics have been in peril of blowing Crimson’s final title! The sequence regarded secure once more when Boston went up 10 within the final minute of sport 7, so Crimson introduced out his customary victory cigar – the Celtics had by no means misplaced after he lit up. Out of the blue, a few fast steals and jumpers received LA to inside 95-93. Luckily, KC Jones dribbled out the final seconds and Crimson went out a winner.

1968 – Celtics 4, Lakers 2

After their eight-peat, the Celtics have been lastly dethroned by Wilt and the 68-13 Sixers in 1967. The Philly crowd chanted “Boston is useless!” Probably not. Going through off once more within the 1968 East finals, the Celts fell behind 3-1 however roared again, taking sport 7 in entrance of those self same followers. The NBA Finals vs. LA have been virtually anticlimactic. They began off 2-2 however the Celtics received an in depth sport 5 in Boston and ended the sequence on the highway behind Havlicek’s 40 factors. Russell received his 10th ring as a participant and first as head coach.

1969 – Celtics 4, Lakers 3

This was the yr LA ought to have damaged via. They traded for Wilt, nonetheless had West and Baylor, and possessed dwelling courtroom benefit over Boston for the primary time. The Celtics received solely 48 video games and completed fourth within the East. Nevertheless, Boston nonetheless received to the Finals by upsetting Philly (55 wins) and New York (54 wins). LA took Recreation 1 by simply two factors, because of West scoring 53, then went up 2-0 as West added 41 factors, offsetting Havlicek’s 43. In Boston, the Celtics took sport 3 however have been down a single level with time just for one gotta-have-it shot. Sam Jones was clutch as soon as extra.

The Celts had averted a 1-3 gap, and ultimately the sequence got here all the way down to sport 7. The Celtics managed the tempo till the fourth quarter. They went chilly, LA rallied, and with Boston clinging to a slim lead, former Laker Don Nelson hit the luckiest shot of his life. That broke the rally and the Celtics had secured Banner 11.

1974 – Celtics 4, Milwaukee Bucks 3

After the 1969 title, Russell and Sam Jones retired, and the Celtics needed to rebuild. Simply 5 years later, they have been again within the Finals to face the Bucks (at the moment within the Western Convention) and their younger league MVP, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The sequence was bodily and shut all through. 5 of the video games have been received by the visiting group, neither group received two in a row, and two video games went to OT. On the parquet, Celtics have been seconds away from the title within the second additional time of sport 6, when Kareem swished a clutch sweeping hook from the deep baseline to tie the sequence. The Celtics confirmed their grit in sport 7, limiting Kareem’s alternatives with a double-team to power different Bucks to step up. They couldn’t, and Boston received comfortably, 102-87. MVP Havlicek averaged 27/8/5.

1976 – Celtics 4, Phoenix Suns 2

The Suns upset the defending champion Warriors earlier than giving the Celtics all they may deal with within the Finals. The Celtics received two at dwelling, misplaced two on the highway, then the pivotal sport 5 was the last word playoff battle. Boston was up 22 within the second quarter, however Paul Westphal (traded from the Celtics to Phoenix the earlier yr) led a frantic comeback that stretched to a few OT intervals. Havlicek, Westphal and Suns Garfield Heard and Curtis Perry traded ridiculous clutch hoops, and each time the sport appeared over, somebody made a play that mentioned, no, it isn’t. Finals MVP JoJo White scored 33 factors in 60 minutes and little-used sub Glenn McDonald nailed six essential factors within the third further interval for a 128-126 win. Two days later, the Celtics ended it in Phoenix, however the hoop world has by no means forgotten sport 5.

1981 – Celtics 4, Houston Rockets 2

After one other down interval, the Celtics drafted Larry Chook, traded for Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, and altered the NBA dramatically. The Boston-LA rivalry moved to a brand new degree – however first, Moses Malone and the Rockets made the Finals by knocking off the defending champ Lakers within the first spherical. The 62-20 Celtics got here out of the East by surviving a battle in opposition to the 62-20 Sixers. Boston overcame a 3-1 deficit in a sequence the place 5 of seven video games have been determined by one or two factors. Versus Houston, the Celtics had an excessive amount of expertise to lose. Veteran ahead Cedric Maxwell averaged 18/10/3 within the low-scoring sequence, profitable MVP. Within the closing moments, Chook nailed a cold-blooded dagger three to clinch the trophy in sport 6.

1984 – Celtics 4, Lakers 3

The 62-20 Celtics had misplaced each video games to the 54-28 Lakers in the course of the common season, so LA was favored on this yr’s showdown. And the guests received sport 1 on the parquet, sowing doubts amongst followers of the Inexperienced. It received worse when the Lakers held a late lead in sport 2. However Gerald Henderson stole the ball, the Celtics received it in OT, and the complete sequence was modified. Recreation 3 in LA was a blowout, a humiliating loss. Chook known as out his teammates, resulting in a tense sport 4 full of exhausting fouls, near-fights and cold-blooded shot-making. Boston held on in OT once more, with Chook swishing the game-winner on a post-up fadeaway.

Recreation 5 temperatures within the non-air-conditioned outdated Backyard hovered close to 100 levels. Whereas the Lakers wilted, Larry Legend was energized to a 34-point, 17-rebound evening. For Recreation 7, Maxwell instructed his squad to “leap on my again, boys!” – and he delivered with 24 factors, 8 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. The ultimate was 111-102 and the Lakers have been 0 for 8 in opposition to Boston within the Finals.

1985 – Lakers 4, Celtics 2

The ninth time was the allure for the Lakers. After the Celtics routed them 148-114 in sport 1, LA toughened up and received a good sport 2, then a blowout sport 3 again in their very own constructing. Dennis Johnson nailed a buzzer-beating jumper to win sport 4, however this yr the schedule format had modified to 2-3-2, so LA had dwelling courtroom for sport 5 and took benefit. Recreation 6 was again in Boston, to no avail. Kareem and James Worthy mixed for 57 factors, the Celtics shot poorly, and it was over.

1986 – Celtics 4, Rockets 2

Too unhealthy the Lakers couldn’t get again to the Finals, as a result of nobody was beating the Celtics this time. Boston traded for Invoice Walton, went 67-15, misplaced just one dwelling sport the complete season, and was 11-1 within the East playoffs. Chook was unstoppable, averaging 24/10/10 within the six Finals video games – and he was solely second in scoring to McHale (26 ppg). Houston managed to win sport 5 after 7’4” Ralph Sampson picked a combat with the smallest Celtic, Jerry Sichting. That permit the Celtics clinch on their dwelling courtroom, with Chook’s 29/11/12 triple double main a 114-97 destruction that was not as shut because the rating sounds.

1987 – Lakers 4, Celtics 2

There was no stopping LA this time. They received 65 video games in a dominant common season, picked up former no. 1 general draft decide Mychal Thompson on the commerce deadline, and misplaced just one Western playoff sport pre-Finals. In the meantime, the Celtics battled via seven-game sequence versus the Bucks and Pistons. McHale, Parish and Danny Ainge have been battling accidents. Predictably, the Lakers received two dwelling video games comfortably, then got here again from 18 factors all the way down to win sport 4 in Boston. Magic Johnson hit the game-winner, a child hook shot after the Celtics didn’t seize a missed Lakers free throw. The Celts stayed alive by profitable sport 5 at dwelling, however that was all they may do.

2008 – Celtics 4, Lakers 2

After a brutal 24-58 season, and years of frustration, Celtics president Danny Ainge traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, fully reshaped the roster, and returned the Celtics to the highest. After going 66-16, they inexplicably struggled within the playoffs, needing seven video games to defeat each the Hawks and Cavs, however received higher with a six-game win vs. the Pistons. They took the primary two Finals video games at dwelling, narrowly avoiding a sport 2 collapse because the Lakers got here again within the fourth quarter. However that turned the Leon Powe Recreation, when the favored backup surprised LA with 21 factors off the bench. The crushing blow got here in Recreation 4, with the Lakers going up 24 on their dwelling courtroom, solely to see the Celtics rally within the third and fourth. PJ Brown, Eddie Home and sequence MVP Pierce scored clutch buckets within the comeback, then Ray Allen delivered the last word blow with a candy drive and layup. Again in Boston and up 3-2, the Celtics humiliated the Lakers 131-92 on the parquet, Allen raining down seven threes.

2010 – Lakers 4, Celtics 3

After a lackluster common season, the Celts flipped the change within the postseason and practically received away with it. It took six video games every to beat the Cavs (sending LeBron to Miami) and the Magic, yielding yet one more matchup with LA. They break up the primary two at Staples Heart, then did the identical at TD Backyard. Recreation 4 was the “Shrek and Donkey” sport, when Massive Child Davis and Nate Robinson mixed for 30 factors off the bench. Pierce’s 27 factors keyed the sport 5 win. However the Celtics couldn’t shut it as a result of they couldn’t rating. Recreation 6 was misplaced 89-67 and Kendrick Perkins went down with a knee damage. They led by as a lot as 13 in sport 7 however gave up 17 second-chance factors on the evening. The deadly blow was the Lakers capturing 21 fourth quarter free throws to Boston’s six. Remaining rating: 83-79.

2022 – Warriors 4, Celtics 2

The primary Finals sport of the Jays period was smashing. The Celtics closed the evening with a 20-2 run and a victory. Then they received sport 3 in Boston behind a mixed 77 factors from Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Good. In sport 3, the Celtics have been forward by 4 and 5:18 away from a 3-1 sequence lead. And that’s when the dream started to fade. They missed seven of their final eight pictures and by no means recovered within the sport or the sequence. Steph Curry received MVP as a result of he made each shot all sequence, or no less than it appeared that method.

That Warriors loss, together with the Jrue Vacation and Kristaps Porzingis acquisitions, has fueled this season’s run towards Banner 18. In a few weeks, 2024 shall be one other section of Celtics historical past. We hope to recollect it fondly.

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