Disclaimer: This was an assignment for a class report for 1500 words or more. I decided to make something that was actually real. It ended up being about my favorite team in the NBA: The Boston Celtics. I edited a few things in it to make it a little bit better. So on behalf of my work, I give you this article.
What do you think of when you think of the NBA team: the Boston Celtics? If you say awesome, outstanding, or amazing: those are all opinions. The fact is, they are the best team in all of the NBA. I am not just talking about this year, (because being third/fourth in the East isn't the best) I am talking about all time.
People can argue that the Los Angeles Lakers are the best team ever. I can see why. They have been to thirty NBA Finals, but have only won half of them. If you look at the Celtics, they have been to only twenty, but have won seventeen of them. Not just that, but even eight of them were in a row. Their most recent Championship was in 2008, but before I get too much into detail about that, I better talk about everything from the beginning before leading up to the 2008 Championship.
The Boston Celtics were founded in 1946 by Walter Brown, and the Celtics have been in Boston ever since. 1957 marked their first NBA Finals appearance just eleven years after being founded. Their big asset was Bill Russell, the center from the University of San Francisco. He was probably one of the best defensive players ever. He didn't join the team until about December in the 1956-1957 season because he was helping the US Olympic Team win a Gold medal.
Even though in Bill Russell's career stats, he had over 14,000 points and over 21,000 rebounds. He also had many blocks, but the NBA didn't record blocks back then. Those facts help to you show how good of a defensive player that Bill was. That is what made Boston great for defense.
The team wasn't just made up of just him. No, they had Bob Cousy, the point guard, and Tom Heinsohn, the power forward. When these three brought the Celtics to the finals in 1957, they had to face the St. Louis Hawks (Atlanta Hawks nowadays). They had to go to Game 7 and went into double overtime in the final game of the Finals. In 1958, the year after their first Finals, they faced the St. Louis Hawks once again and lost by Game 6. This was the only Championship that the Hawks franchise has ever won. This made the Celtics 1-1 in the Finals.
"What Russell was on defense, that's what Cousy was on offense -- a magician. Once that ball reached his hands, the rest of us just took off, never bothering to look back."
- Celtic legend Tom Heinsohn
After the loss to the St. Louis Hawks in the 1958 Finals, the greatest championship streak in all North American sports came from the Boston Celtics, eight NBA Finals in a row. This is the part that many people call the Celtics' Big Dynasty. 1959 started the Celtics Dynasty and was the mark of the their third Finals. Their opponent was the Minneapolis Lakers, which are known as today as the Los Angeles Lakers. This is what started the big rivalry between the two biggest franchises. To tell you the truth, Boston swept them 4-0. The only real known player from the Lakers was Elgin Baylor. After this trip to the NBA Finals, it made the Celtics 2-1.
The 1960 NBA Finals, on the other hand was a more difficult challenge for Boston. It was once again versus the St. Louis Hawks. These two teams were so equal and competitive that they went to the Game 7 again. This is where Bill Russell got forty rebounds in the second game of the Finals. The Finals record hasn't been broken since, but has been tied one other time. This Championship made them 3-1.
The 1961 Finals was once against the St. Louis Hawks. This wasn't as hard of a challenge for Boston to beat them because they won by Game 5. It was a trip that got them their fourth NBA Finals Championship and the Hawks franchise hasn't been in an NBA Finals since.
In 1962, the Los Angeles Lakers were the contenders versus the Boston Celtics. The Lakers were a perfectly matched team to the Celtics. Boston and Los Angeles went at it until Game 7, which was a lot better than what happened to them last time against Boston in the Finals. In Game 5, Lakers forward, Elgin Baylor made sixty-one points. Also, this is where the tying of forty rebounds in a Finals game came up once again by Bill Russell. Russell also got the record for most rebounds in a 7 Game Finals Series with 189. Nobody has beaten either of the records made by Bill Russell. Game 7 went into overtime where Boston won by three points. This made the hard working Celtics 5-1.
The Lakers came back the next year to face the Celtics in the finals for the third time. It wasn't too difficult for Boston to make them flee back to Los Angeles. Boston won the series 4-2. There wasn't any important highlights in this series, other than the fact that it was the 5th Championship in Boston's Eight Consecutive Finals Champions Dynasty.
The San Francisco Warriors were the Boston Celtics 1964 contender. The Warriors had Wilt Chamberlain and he could shoot. Like I said before, with Bill Russell's defense, it's hard to get good shots to win the games with a good defender on you. Boston walked away with their 6th NBA Finals Championship by Game 5. Boston became 7-1 in all the Finals they had been in and won their 6th straight.
Bill Russell denying the finger roll from Wilt Chamberlain before the Philadelphia Warriors were relocated to San Francisco.
Boston's biggest rivals, Los Angeles came back to try to end this Finals streak in 1965 but like all the other teams before trying to do that to them, they failed. Boston won the series 4-1 and on the Game 4, in the final minutes of the game, ABC cut away to the next show because Boston was leading 112-99. Boston's amazing streak added another Finals win and this was their 9th straight trip to the finals and were 8-1 all together.
In the last Finals game of the Dynasty, the Lakers tried once again to defeat the Celtics, but like the previous times, it didn't work out. In the 1966 Finals, Los Angeles put up a fight this time and made it go into Game 7 once again. Game 7 pretty much ended up like what happened last time to the Lakers. Boston won by two points and had their eighth NBA Finals in a row. It is the most consecutive Championships in any North American sport.
The next year didn't go great for Boston. It wasn't their major decline, but they didn't make it to the NBA Finals. They were beaten out by the Philadelphia 76ers but that just ended their streak. People have said that the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers were one of the the best teams of all time with Wilt Chamberlain. In 1968 and in 1969, Boston came back to the Finals and beat Los Angeles both times (the first time 4-2 and the second 4-3). The Lakers had a new weapon, Wilt Chamberlain, but like most the seasons before that, Bill Russell was a better player because of his defense. After this Boston was 11-1 in the NBA Finals.
Shortly there after, Bill Russell retired from being both a center and a coach. What happened was in 1966 when his original coach retired, nobody wanted the job, so Bill Russell was both the center and coach. It seems like playing and coaching at the same time would be tough, but Bill Russell was able to do it. In the NBA's 35th Anniversary, Bill Russell was named the best player that has ever been in the NBA.
After he retired, Boston went down, but they didn't stay down for long. In 1974, just five years after their last Finals appearance, The Boston Celtics were back on top of the world. The opponent was the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks main player was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but that didn't stop Boston from winning another NBA Finals. Like many other Celtic contenders before Milwaukee, they forced a Game 7 in the series. Boston learned if they double or triple teamed Kareem in the final game, they could easily win, and that's exactly what they did. The total tally for the Boston Celtics was then 12-1.
The Celtics didn't make the cut in 1975, but came back in 1976. This time, they were against the Phoenix Suns. Boston won by Game 6, but that wasn't the big part. In this series was Game 5, which was known as one of the greatest games of all time. It went into Triple Overtime and they were neck and neck until Boston finally won by 2 points 126 to 128. The track record for the Celts was then 13-1.
Two years later, Larry Bird was drafted to Boston, and three years after that, Boston was back in the NBA Finals. In 1981 Boston had four legends playing that year. Nate Archibald, and the Big Three (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish). These four Celtic players won by Game 6 to the Houston Rockets.
The 1980s Big Three: Robert Parish, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale(left to right)
In 1984, the Celtics and the Big Three came back to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Los Angeles had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bob McAdoo, and James Worthy, but they weren't as good as the Big Three. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was getting old and the Lakers didn't beat them that year. The teams went to Game 7 and that is a big deal, but Los Angeles outnumbered them with good players, but still lost, and that is why Boston is so successful. They don't get good players, they get the best, and this proved it. Boston was then 15-1.
Los Angeles redeemed themselves in 1985 and beat the Celtics by Game 6. Both teams had all their Hall of Famers, and Boston just straight up lost. This was Boston's first NBA Finals loss since 1958. This made the Celtics 15-2.
Boston and the Big Three came back in 1986 to get another NBA Finals, but this time, it was against the Houston Rockets. After five years, Houston tried to get revenge, but ended up failing by Game 6. Houston had Hakeem Olajuwon, a center from Nigeria. Still, Houston couldn't stop Boston and they became 16-2.
The Celtics had one more chance at becoming 17-2, but blew it. They faced the Los Angeles Lakers once again, and lost by Game 6. They could have had a good chance of winning the series if Magic Johnson in Game 4 didn't make that hook shot, but he did, and that is what was needed for his team.
The Celtics did ok, until about the time the Big Three retired. Boston tried and tried to rebuild and in 1998, they got small forward, Paul Pierce. Even though Paul Pierce was good at the time, he still needed help.
In the 2007 Draft, they traded somebody on the Celtics for Rajon Rondo on the Phoenix Suns, the point guard for the Celtics who was in his first NBA All-Star Game on February 14th, 2010. In the 2007 Off-season, Boston went crazy with getting new people. They first got shooting guard, Ray Allen from the Seattle SuperSonics, who has the most 3-pointers out of anyone active, and is just behind Reggie Lewis for being #1 of all time. A little bit after getting Ray Allen, they got power forward, Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who was the first in awhile to come from straight out of high school to the NBA. These three formed the new generation of The Big Three. They were the best team in the 2007- 2008 season. Boston finally built up the best NBA franchise ever back up, and it was worth it.
I knew even before the season began, those guys would all become the 2008 NBA Champions.
The New Generation of the Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen(left to right)
After Boston was successful with both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen coming in to help Paul Pierce, Los Angeles started building up their franchise again because they weren't in the best condition since Shaquille O'Neal left. But anyways, both of the teams did so well that season, they brought back the old Rivalry for the 2008 NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics won by Game 6 and Paul Pierce was named MVP. Boston won their 17th title and only lost three times in the finals.