1946/47: On June 6th, a group of 11 men who owned large arena or hockey teams met to discuss the formation of a new professional basketball league. Among the men there at the formation of the Basketball Association of America was Walter Brown, who ran the Boston Garden. Browns team would borrow form the legacy of the Celtics a barnstorming team that helped spur the growing popularity of basketball in the 1920’s and 30’s. On November 5th the Celtics made their debut at the Boston Garden in front of 4,329 fans. The game would be delayed an hour when the wooden backboard was damaged during a practice dunk during warm-ups. After the backboard was repaired the Celtics fell to the Chicago Stags by a score 57-55. The Celtics would go on to finish their inaugural season with a 22-38 record tied with Toronto Huskies for last place.
1947/48: Despite struggling again to finish with a 20-28 record After falling in Game 1 to the Stags 79-72 in Chicago the Celtics forced a decisive third game with a 81-77 win on the Parquet Floor at the Boston Garden. However, with series deciding game back in Chicago the Celtics would fall 81-74.
1948/49: With new Coach Alvin “Doggie” Julian, the Celtics struggle continue as they finished in fifth place missing the playoffs with a 25-35 record.
1949/50: With the BAA absorbing the NBL, the BAA becomes the National Basketball Association. In Boston the Celtics continue to struggle as they finished in last place with a 22-46 record.
1950/51: With NBA reducing itself from 17 to 11 teams the Celtics were able to take advantage landing star center Ed Macauley who had stared with defunct St. Louis Bombers. In addition the Celtics hired Coach Red Auerbach who had led the Washington Capitols to the Finals two years earlier. In addition the Celtics landed rookie Bob Cousy after the New York Knickerbockers and Philadelphia Warriors passed on him. Cousy performed better then expected averaging 15.6 ppg, while Macauley led the way with a 20.4 ppg as the Celtics posted their first winning season finishing in second place with a solid 39-30 record. However, in the playoffs the Celtics would be stunned by the New York Knickerbockers losing two straight games in the Eastern Semifinals.
1951/52: With the acquisition of Bill Sharman and the continued impressive play of Bob Cousy the Celtics put together another solid season finishing in second place with a 39-27 record. However, in a rematch with New York Knickerbockers the Celtics would fall in three games losing the decisive third game in overtime by a score 88-87 at the Boston Garden.
1952/53: The Celtics continue to be among the elite teams in the East finishing out of first place by a half of game with a 47-24 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would win their first every playoff series dispatching the Syracuse Nationals in two straight games. However, for the third year in a row the Celtics season would be ended by the New York Knickerbockers as they fell in Eastern Division Finals three games to one.
1953/54: The Celtics continue to put together solid season finishing in second place again with a 42-30 record. After beating the New York Knickerbockers twice in a round robin series in the first round the Celtics are bounced by the Syracuse Nationals in two straight games in the Eastern Finals.
1954/55: With the shot clock increasing scoring the Celtics become the first team to average 100 points per game. However, they would allow a league worse 101.5 as they finished in third place with a 36-36 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would knock off the New York Knickerbockers in a hard fought three game series before falling to the Syracuse Nationals in four games during the Eastern Finals.
1955/56: The Celtics defensive woes continues as they led the league in scoring while allowing the most points for the second year in a row as they finished in second place with a 39-33 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would make another quick exit falling to the Syracuse Nationals in three games. Following the season the Celtics would trade star center Ed Maculey to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for the rights to second round draft pick Bill Russell.
1956/57: While the Celtics awaited the arrival of Rookie Center Bill Russell who was helping to lead Team USA to the an Olympic Gold in Melbourne, Australia, the team relied on Rookie forward Tom Heinsohn, and Bob Cousy to get off to a 16-8 start. Upon his arrival Russell revolutionized the game with his ability to make rebounds and block shots to ignite a fast break, as the Celtics defensive problems became a thing of the past. The Celtics would go on to finish with the best record in the NBA at 44-28 as Bob Cousy was named MVP, and Tom Hiensohn Rookie of the Year. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Celtics made quick work of the Philadelphia Warriors sweeping them in three straight games. In the Finals the Celtics were matched up against the St. Louis Hawks, whom they made a blockbuster deal in the off-season with. In the finals for the first time the Celtics would get off to a rocky start losing Game 1 at the Garden in overtime 125-123. After rebounding to win Game 2 at home the Celtics found themselves on the ropes losing Game 3 in St. Louis. After even the series in Game 4 the Celtics were poised for their first Championship with a 124-109 win in Game 5. However, a seventh game was needed after the Hawks won on a buzzer beating tip in from Cliff Hagan. With Game 7 back in Boston the Celtics and Hawks each refused to quit, as they game battled on into a second overtime. In the closing seconds Jim Loscutoff gave the Celtics a two point lead from the free throw line. The lead would hold up as Bob Pettit’s desperate shot hit the rim as time ran out, giving the Celtics their first ever Championship.
1957/58: With Bill Russell wining the MVP award the Celtics tear through the league claiming the best record for the second straight season at 49-23. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics would get off to a fast start claiming the first three games before knocking off the Philadelphia Warriors in five games. Facing the St. Louis Hawks in the Finals for the second year in a row, the Celtics found themselves in another hard fought battle as the two teams spilt the first four games. However, playing without Bill Russell who injured his ankle in Game 3 the Celtics dropped Game 5 at home 102-100. Russell returned for Game 6, but was ineffective as Bob Pettit poured in 50 points to lead the Hawks to a 110-109 win for the Championship.
1958/59: After a two year stint in the army K.C. Jones joined the Celtics rounding the Celtics out into a complete team with a fierce back court, as the Celtics led the NBA in field goals made, rebounds, assists, and points per game to finish with a dominate 52-20 record. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics had surprisingly hard time with Syracuse Nationals needing seven games to reach the Finals for the third year in a row. In the Finals the Celtics would find things much easier as they swept the Minneapolis Lakers in four straight games, to claim their second title in three years.
1959/60: The Celtics’ success continued, as each of the five starters; Frank Ramsey, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, and Bob Cousy averaged better than 15 ppg. In addition they had a bench that included solid contributions from Sam Jones, K. C. Jones, and Gene Conley, as they reeled of 17-straight wins during the season on the way to a dominant 59-16 record. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics Bill Russell would out duel Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors as the Celtics advanced to the Finals in six games. In the Finals the Celtics found themselves in another battle with St. Louis Hawks. Once again the two-team would split the first four games, with the Celtics claiming Game 5 by 25 points. However, the Celtics would be pushed to a seventh game, as the Hawks won Game 6 by three points. In Game 7 at the Boston Garden Bill Russell took over pulling down 35 rebounds as the Celtics won their third Championship in four years with a 122-103 win.
1960/61: With virtually the same team the Celtics once again run away with best record in the NBA as Bill Russell wins his 2nd MVP with during a 57-22 record. In the playoffs the Celtics dominance would continue as they knocked off the Syracuse Nationals in five games during the Eastern Finals. In the NBA Finals the Celtics faced the St. Louis Hawks again, but this time it was a cake walk as the Celtics claimed their third straight title and fourth in five season in five games.
1961/62: Despite the retirement of Bill Sharman the Celtics continued to dominate the NBA finishing with best record at 60-20 as Bill Russell won his third MVP award. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics found themselves in a war with Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors. With Chamberlain averring 50.4 ppg, and 25.7 rebounds a game the Warriors pushed the Celtics all the way to a seventh game. In Game 7 the Celtics would need dramatic game winning shot by Sam Jones with two seconds left to finally get passed the Warriors. In the Finals things would not get easier as the Celtics found themselves on the ropes down 3-2 games to the Los Angeles Lakers. In Game 6 in LA, the Celtics summoned up all their pride to force a seventh game. Back on the Parquet floor in Game 7 the Celtics found themselves in another war as the game went to overtime. In Overtime the Celtics finally were able to pull away winning their fourth straight Championship with a 110-107 win.
1962/63: Prior to the season Bob Cousy announced he would be retiring following the season. However, with the addition of Rookie John Havlicek it was clear the Celtics were ready for the future. With transition begging the Celtics continued their dominance once again finishing with the league’s best record at 58-22, as Bill Russell won his third straight MVP. In the playoffs the Celtics once again battled their way into the NBA Final beating back a tough challenge from the Cincinnati Royals in seven games. In the NBA Finals the Celtics would get off to a fast start grabbing a 3-1 series lead on the way to beating the Los Angeles Lakers for their fifth straight Championship.
1963/64: Despite the retirement of Bob Cousy the Celtics were still the best team in NBA all year as they finished with a league best 59-21 record. In the playoffs the Celtics seemed to get stronger as they knocked off the Cincinnati Royals in five games to make their eigth straight NBA Finals. In the NBA Finals the Celtics would have no problem defeating Wilt Chamberlain and the San Francisco Warriors in five games for their sixth straight Championship, which was also their seventh championship in eight years.
1964/65: Prior to the start of the season the Celtics lose their founder as Walter Brown passes away. Dedicating their season to Brown the Celtics come flying out of the gate winning their first 11 games on the way to another dominating season. Bill Russell would win his fifth straight MVP as the Celtics finished with a 62-18 record. However, in the playoffs the Celtics found themselves in a battle with the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired Wilt Chamberlain in the middle of the season. With the two teams alternating wins the series went to a seventh game. In Game 7 the Celtics appeared to be in good shape leading by seven points with two minutes left. However the 76ers would cut the lead to one point and when Bill Russell’s errant inbound pass hit the basket support the 76ers had the ball and a chance to win the game with only a few second left. However, John Havlicek would save the day stealing the ball and dribbling out the clock, as the Celtics found themselves in the finals for the ninth year in a row. In the Finals the Celtics would have no problem beating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games for their seventh straight Championship and eighth in nine years.
1965/66: Age begins to catch up with Celtics as Tom Heinsohn retires prior to the season, as three of their starters find themselves over the age of 30. The Celtics would battle the Philadelphia 76ers all season for the best record in the NBA falling one game short with a 54-26 record. Playing in the first round for the first time in 10 years the Celtics reign looked to be on the ropes as hey faced elimination in Game 4 against the Royals in Cincinnati. The Celtics Championship pride would not let them fall as they took the next two games to set up an Eastern Division Final with the 76ers. Surprisingly the Celtics would dominate beating the Wilt Chamberlain led 76ers in five games for a trip to their incredible 10th straight NBA Finals. In the Finals the Celtics would grab a 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Lakers would battle back to force a seventh game. In Game 7 the Celtics would once again do just enough to win their unprecedented eighth straight Championship with a 95-93 win. Following the Celtics ninth title in ten years Red Auerbach would retire from coaching to focus solely on running the team from the front office.
1966/67: With Red Auerbach stepping down as coach Bill Russell is named player-coach. Under Russell the Celtics would put together a solid 60-21 record finishing in second place. In the playoffs the Celtics would beat the New York Knicks three games to one to set up an Eastern Finals rematch with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, in the finals the Celtics would finally be knocked off their throne as they fell to the 76ers in five games.
1967/68: The Celtics championship core continues to depart as K.C. Jones retires prior to the start of the season. Without Jones the aging Celtics would post a solid 54-28 finishing in second place. In the Playoffs the Celtics would knock off the Detroit Pistons in six games to advance to the Eastern Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, who had clearly taken over the Celtics position as the dominate team in the NBA. The Celtics appeared to be going down quickly as they found themselves down three games to one after two brutal losses at the Boston Garden. The Celtics pride would take over winning their next three games to advance to the NBA Finals. In the Finals the Celtics would reclaim the throne beating the Los Angels Lakers in six games.
1968/69: The sun appears to set on the Celtics dynasty as they barley make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a 48-34 record. In the playoffs the Celtics needed all their pride to muster to stun the Philadelphia 76ers in five games. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics found the fountain of youth again knocking off the New York Knicks in six games for their 12th Final Appearance in 13 years. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers who had added Wilt Chamberlain prior to the season the Celtics were a heavy under dog in the NBA Finals. After losing the first 2 games in LA the Celtics got back in the series by taking the next two games on the hallowed floor of the Boston Garden. After losing Game 5 in LA, the Celtics forced a seventh game with a 99-90 win at home. With Game 7 back in Los Angeles the Celtics chances did not look to good before the game, as an itinerary for the Lakers post game celebration circulated through the building. The itinerary found it way into the hands of Celtics Player-Coach Bill Russell, who was playing in his final game. The Celtics would use the itinerary to fire them up as they too a 17-point lead into the 4th Quarter. The Lakers would make a last desperate run but the Celtics had just enough to hold the Lakers off for a 108-106 win. It was the Celtics 11th Championship in 13 years establishing a pro sports mark they will likely never be challenged.
1969/70: With Bill Russell retired, Tom Heinsohn returns to take over the coaching reigns of a Celtics team that was a shell of its former self. Besides the retirement of Russell the Celtics missed playmaker Sam Jones who retired after 13 seasons, as the Celtics missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 years by finishing in sixth place with a 34-48 record.
1970/71: With the addition of Center Dave Cowens who claims the Rookie of the Year award the Celtics return to contention missing the playoffs with a third place 44-38 record in the Atlantic Division, that was better the either of the playoff teams from the Central Division.
1971/72: John Havlicek has one of his finest seasons finishing third in scoring with 27.5 ppg, as the Celtics win the Atlantic Division with a 56-26 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would make quick work of the Atlanta Hawks knocking them off in a six games. However in the Eastern Finals the Celtics would be stunned by the New York Knicks falling in five games.
1972/73: With Dave Cowens winning the NBA MVP with 23.8 ppg the Celtics set a new franchise record for wins on the way to a league best 68-14 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would knock of the Atlanta Hawks in 6 games to set up an Eastern Finals rematch with the New York Knicks. However, once again the Knicks would give the Celtics all they could handle jumping out to a 3-1 series lead. However, the Celtics would solve finally solve the Knicks forcing a sevnth game at the Boston Garden. However, not even the parquet floor could save the Celtics as they are blown out by the Knicks 94-78.
1973/74: Led by a balanced attack reminiscent of the glory days the Celtics win their third straight Division Title with a solid 56-26 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would advance to the Eastern Finals by beating the Buffalo Braves in six games. Facing the New York Knicks for the third year in a row, the Celtics would finally make it back to the by beating the Knicks easily in five games. Facing the Milwaukee Bucks led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the finals the Celtics found themselves in one of the greatest Finals ever played. With the two teams splitting the first four games the Celtics appeared to be heading for another Championship after beating the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 5. However, in the closing seconds of overtime of Game 6 at the Boston Garden Kareem forced a seventh game by hitting a hook shot with three seconds left. Back in Milwaukee for Game 7 the Celtics would win their 12th NBA title by beating the Bucks 102-87, as John Havlicek was named Finals MVP.
1974/75: Despite losing Center Dave Cowens for two months with a broken foot, the Celtics easily win the Atlantic Division with a 60-22 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would quickly get past the Houston Rockets in five games for another trip to the Eastern Finals. However in the Eastern Finals the Celtics would be shot down by the Washington Bullets in six games.
1975/76: Despite an uncharacteristically weak bench, the Celtics finished in first place in their division with a 54-28 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would reach by the NBA Finals by beating the Buffalo Braves and Cleveland Cavaliers each in six games. Matched up against the Phoenix Suns in the finals the Celtics would jump out quickly winning the first two games at the Boston Garden. However, the Celtics would suffer a drought in the desert losing two games in Phoenix. With Game 5 back in Boston the Celtics were clearly in a must win situation. Up by five points with less than a minute left the Celtics were pushed to overtime single handily by Paul Westphal. After the first overtime ended in a tie the Celtics appeared to have the game locked up when John Havlicek’s basket with two second left gave the Celtics a one point lead. The lead would be stretched to two points when Paul Westphal was hit with technical foul for calling timeout when none were left. However, the foul would give the Suns another chance and Gar Heard would send the game to a third overtime with a dramatic last second shot. However, the Celtics would not be fazed as they won what would later be called the greatest game in NBA history by a score of 128-126. The Celtics would go on to win the series and their 13th Championship in six games with an 87-80 win as Jo-JO White was named Finals MVP.
1976/77: Coming off their NBA Championship the Celtics struggle through injuries to finish in second place with a 44-38 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would beat the San Antonio Spurs in two straight games in the preliminary round. However, in the second round the Celtics would be eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games.
1977/78: The Celtics would stumble out of the gate losing 23 of their first 34 games when Coach Tom Heinsohn is fired and replaced by Tom Sanders. Sanders would not fare much better as the Celtics finished in 3rd place with a disappointing 32-50 record missing the playoffs.
1978/79: Prior to the start of the season the Celtics are involved in a complicated change that sees them swap owners with Buffalo Braves. Taking over the Celtics was John Brown, while the unpopular Irv Levin took over the Braves moving them to San Diego. The deal included a complicated seven player trade in which Boston acquired Tiny Archibald, Billy Knight, Marvin Barnes, and two future draft choices and San Diego received Freeman Williams, backup center Kevin Kunnert, and power forwards Kermit Washington and Sidney Wicks. Most importantly, Boston retained the draft rights to Indiana State star Larry Bird. However despite the wheeling and dealing the Celtics endured a terrible season finishing in last place with a 29-53 record, as the Dave Cowens experiment as player-coach fails.
1979/80: The arrival of Larry Bird makes the Celtics an instant contender more then doubling their previous year’s win total to finish with a league best 61-21 record. Bird would earn Rookie of the Year honors by averaging 21.3 ppg. Also earning honors was new Coach Bill Fitch who took home the Coach of the Year award, which bears the name of legendary Celtics Coach Red Auerbach who was instrumental in rebuilding the team back into contenders. In the playoffs after a two year absence the Celtics make quick work sweeping the Houston Rockets in four straight games. However, in the Eastern Finals the Celtics would be tripped up by the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.
1980/81: After falling to the Philadelphia 76ers the Celtics felt they needed a stronger presence in the middle so they acquired Center Robert Parrish from the Golden State Warriors. The trade would become more important after Dave Cowens suddenly announced his retirement. In addition to Parrish the Celtics would get the number three draft pick, which they used to select Forward Kevin McHale. The moves would pay off as the Celtics finished with a 62-20 record tied with the 76ers for the best record in the NBA. In the Playoffs the Celtics would have no problem dispatching the Chicago Bulls in four straight games. However, in the Eastern Finals the Celtics looked to be going down again as they trailed the 76ers three games to one. However, the Celtics Pride would manifest itself as they forced a seventh Game at the Boston Garden with back-to-back two point wins. In Game 7 the Celtics would rally again and would make the NBA Finals on Larry Bird’s clutch game winning shot in the finals seconds. In the finals the Celtics had a surprisingly hard time against the Houston Rockets as they split the first four games. In the end the Celtics would prove the superior team easily winning Game 5 and Game 6 for their 14th Championship.
1981/82: The Celtics continued to be the class of the NBA winning the Atlantic Division for the third year in a row with a league best 63-19 record. However, after shooting down the Washington Bullets in five games the Celtics are stunned by the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games.
1982/83: Things were not going smoothly for the Celtics who dropped out of first despite a solid 56-26 record, as dissension among the players and Coach Bill Fitch seemed to affect the team’s play. In the playoffs the Celtics need the full three games just to beat back a challenge from the Atlanta Hawks in the preliminary round. The Celtics lackluster play continued into the next round as the Celtics are swept by the Milwaukee Bucks. Following the season Fitch would be fired, former backcourt playmaker K.C. Jones was named later named to replace him.
1983/84: With hopes to improve the team’s backcourt the Celtics acquire Dennis Johnson from the Phoenix Suns. The move would pay instant dividends as the team’s offense seemed to flow better during a league best 62-20 season that saw Larry Bird walk away with his first MVP award. Under the newly expanded playoff format the Celtics would quickly get past Washington Bullets three games to one. However, in the second round the Celtics would need a full seven games to beat back a surprisingly strong challenge from the New York Knicks. In the Eastern Finals the Celtics would avenge the previous season by knocking of the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. The NBA Finals would be a nostalgic affair as the Celtics took on the Los Angeles Lakers. The centerpiece of the rivalry’s revival would be Larry Bird facing off against Magic Johnson, who he dueled with in the 1979 NCAA Championship Game. Since then the two stars were at the forefront of the NBA’s growing popularity. After dropping Game 1 at the Boston Garden the Celtics needed overtime to even the series in Game 2. However, the Celtics struggles continued in Game 3, leading Bird to question his teammates’ manhood. The Celtics seemed to respond right away as they beat the Lakers 129-125 in overtime in game that featured several fights. Back in Boston for Game 5 the Celtics took control of the series with an 18-point win. However, the Celtics would need a nail-biting win in Game 7 on the Parquet Floor for their 15th Championship.
1984/85: The entire regular season seemed to be a prelude to a Celtics-Lakers finals rematch as the Celtics posted a league best 63-19 record, as Larry Bird took home his second straight MVP. In the playoffs the Celtics would slide past the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. In the second round the Celtics continued to cruise as they beat the Detroit Pistons in six games, moving on to the Eastern Finals the Celtics dominance continued as the beat the Philadelphia 76ers in five games. Facing the Lakers in the finals the Celtics got off to a fast start as they beat L.A. by 34 points in Game 1. However, the Lakers would rebound to win the next two games. After the Celtics won Game 4 in Los Angeles the Lakers claimed Game 5 which was held in L.A. under the new 3-2-3 playoff format. Needing a win in Game 6 the Celtics dominance of they Lakers came to an end, as they were unable to stop Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a 111-100 loss on the Parquet Floor.
1985/86: Larry Bird has his finest season as he walks away with his third straight MVP award, while pacing the Celtics to an incredible league best 67-15 record. Along the way the Celtics would lose just one game at home posting an incredible 40-1 record on the Parquet Floor of the Boston Garden. In the playoffs the Celtics dominance continued as they deflected a playoff record 63-point game from Michael Jordan on the way to a three game sweep of the Chicago Bulls. In the second round it was almost as easy as the Celtics needed just five games to shutdown the Atlanta Hawks. By the time the Eastern Finals rolled around it was clear that nothing was going to stop the Celtics as they dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in a four game sweep. In the Finals the Celtics would face the Houston Rockets who came of a stunning upset of the Los Angels Lakers. The Celtics would quickly grab control of the series winning the first two games over the Rockets at home. After losing Game 3 in Houston the Celtics grabbed a 3-1 series lead with a 106-103 win in Game 4. After dropping Game 5 in Houston the series shifted back to Boston for a coronation the Celtics 16th Championship, with possibly their best overall team.
1986 Draft: The Boston Celtics were clearly the class of the NBA winning 16 NBA Championships in 30 years. Keeping a dynasty going that long, a team must continually make shrewd deals to bring in young players. Coming off the glorious 1986 Championship the Celtics seemed to do it again as an earlier trade with Seattle Supersonics resulted in the second overall draft pick, which the Celtics used on can’t miss Len Bias who was expected to becomes an instant star in the NBA. However, Bias would never win a Celtics uniform as he died just two days after the draft celebrating his fortune with a cocaine binge that led to a fatal overdose.
1986/87: Despite the tragic death of Len Bias the Celtics continue to be among the best teams in the NBA as they win the Atlantic Division with a 59-23 record. However, by the time the playoffs rolled around injuries would begin to take a toll. The fatigue factor would not be an issue in the first round as the Celtics swept the Chicago Bulls in three straight games. However, the Celtics would barely survive a seven game series with Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. Moving on to the Easter Finals the Celtics would find things even tougher as they split the first four games with the Detroit Pistons. With Game 5 in Boston the Celtics clearly needed a win, but with five seconds left the Celtics trailed by one point, needing to make a clutch play as the Pistons set to inbound the ball. With Isaiah Thomas in bounding the ball Larry Bird comes out of nowhere to pick off feeding Dennis Johnson who gave the Celtics a dramatic one point win. Despite the dramatic win the Celtics would still need a hard fought Game 7 win to advance to the NBA Finals. In the Finals the Celtics were matched up against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with a banged up team the Celtics were no match for the Lakers losing the first two games in Los Angeles. After winning Game 3 in the Boston Garden the Celtics needed to win Game 4 to even the series. However, the fatigued Celtics would watch helplessly as the Lakers completed a 4th Quarter comeback on Magic Johnson’s baby hook shot with three seconds left. After winning Game 5 the Celtics would fall to Lakers in six games.
1987/88: Age was not a barrier for the Celtics as they won the Atlantic Division with a solid 57-25 record despite playing wit a team whose average age was over 30. In the playoffs the Celtics would easily knock off the New York Knicks in four games. However, in the second Round the Celtics would need the full seven games just to escape a hard fought series against the Atlanta Hawks. However, in the Eastern Finals there would be no miracle this time around as they fell to the Detroit Pistons in six games.
1988/89: With K.C. Jones stepping down the Celtics were now coached by Jimmy Rogers. However, not even the great Red Auerbach could have saved them from their troubles after Larry Bird was forced to the sidelines after foot surgery just six games into the season. Without Bird the Celtics struggled just to make the playoffs as the 8th seed with a 4:2-40 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would make a quick exit as they were swept by the Detroit Pistons in three straight games.
1989/90: With Larry Bird returning the Celtics rebound to finish in second place with a solid 52-30 record. In the playoffs the Celtics looked ready to make a serious run as they jumped out a to a 2-0 series lead over the New York Knicks. However, the Celtics would collapse losing three straight games, including Game 5 on the Parquet Floor at the Boston Garden.
1990/91: With Larry Bird experiencing back problems new Coach Chris Ford decides to rearrange the offense to be more of a fast break style centering around Reggie Lewis and Brian Shaw. The new strategy seemed to work as the Celtics won the Atlantic Division with a 56-26 record. In the playoffs the Celtics would struggle just to get passed the Indiana Pacers in 5 games. However, in the 2nd Round the Celtics just did not have enough steam as they fell to the Detroit Pistons in 6 games.
1991/92: Despite Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale missing significant time during the season the Celtics win the Atlantic Division with a solid 51-31 record. Leading the way for the Celtics is Reggie Lewis who averages 20.8 ppg, leading the Celtics to 15 wins in their last 16 games. In the playoffs the Celtics continued to roll as they beat the Indiana Pacers in four games. However, in the second Round the Celtics would fall in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following the season, Larry Bird who only played in four playoff games, and sparingly with the dream team in the Olympics announces his retirement.
1992/93: Without Larry Bird the Celtics struggle out of the gate losing eight of their first ten games. However, as the season wore on the Celtics started to play better, and by posting a 36-17 record after January 1st the Celtics made the playoffs by finishing in second Place with a 48-34 record. However in the playoffs the Celtics would be stunned by the Charlotte Hornets in four games. During the playoffs rising star Reggie Lewis collapsed on the court, and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Despite doctor’s warnings Lewis would attempt to make a comeback in the off-season, on July 27th while working out in Boston, he would suffer cardiac arrest and pas away shortly afterward. He was only 27.
1993/94: In addition to the tragic death of Reggie Lewis the Celtics would see the retirement of Kevin McHale leaving behind a team that was a shell of its former glory, as the Celtics missed the playoffs for the first time in 15 years with a 32-50 record. Following the season Robert Parrish would be allowed to walk away via free agency.
1994/95: In the final year of basketball at the Boston Garden the Celtics struggles continue. However despite a poor 35-47 record the Celtics would sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed. In the playoffs the Celtics would be dominated by the Orlando Magic, falling in four games, which included losses in the final two games at the Boston Garden.
1995/96: A new era begins for the Celtics as they move into a state of the art new arena known as the Fleet Center. However, the magic was clearly gone for the Celtics who suffered through a terrible 33-49 record under new coach M.L. Carr.
1996/97: Celebrating its 50th anniversary as one of the NBA’s original franchise the Celtics suffer through their worst season in franchise history finishing in last place with an awful 15-67 record. The lone bright spot is the play of Rookie Antoine Walker who averages 17.5 ppg, thid best among all rookies. Following the season the Celtics would hire Walker’s former college Coach Rick Pitino, installing him as both Coach and General Manager, and introducing him as the savior for the once great franchise.
1997/98: The Rick Pitino era in Boston began with a bang as they stunned the Chicago Bulls on opening night 92-85. However, with the youngest team in the NBA the Celtics experience more losses then wins missing the playoffs for the thid year in a row with a 36-46 record.
1998/99: The Celtics continued to build with youth as they selected Paul Pierce with 10th overall pick in the draft. Pierce would get off to a fast start as he was named Rookie of the Month in February, after the season was delayed by a three month lockout. However, the Celtics would still struggle to finish with a 19-31 record as fans began to get restless with Rick Pitino’s slow growth.
1999/00: In the third year of the Rick Pitino era the Celtics seem to be going nowhere as fans and the media began to show their impatience with the struggling franchise who finished out of the playoffs again with a 35-47 record.
2000/01: The Celtics struggles continue as they get off to a 12-22 start, when a frustrated Rick Pitino resigns. Before he left Pitino seemed to scald the fans and press who were his harshest critics saying Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were not walking through the door. However, Pitino did build a solid nucleus and under new Coach Jim O’Brien the Celtics showed some promise playing .500 the rest of the way to finish with a 36-46 record.
2001/02: In Jim O’Brien’s first full season as head coach the Celtics finally rise to their potential playing solid basketball all season on the way to their best record in ten years to finish in second place at 49-33. In the playoffs for the first time in seven years the Celtics would show signs of their old glory days as they blowout the Philadelphia 76ers in a deceive 5th Game at the Fleet Center. Moving on to the second Round the Celtics overcome a Game 1 loss to the Pistons in Detroit to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 14 years with four straight wins. After spilling the first two games of the Eastern Finals against the Nets in New Jersey the Celtics faces a 2-1 deficit as they trailed the Nets by 23 points entering the 4th Quarter in Game 3 at the Fleet Center. However that old Celtic Pride would not let them go down without a fight as Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker took over and dominated the 4th Quarter as the Celtics won the game completing the biggest comeback in NBA Playoff history. However, in the end the Celtics would not have enough as they lost the next three games and the series in six games.
2002/03: Hoping to improve the team following a trip to the Conference Finals the Celtics acquired Vin Baker from the Seattle Supersonics for Kenny Anderson. However, Baker struggled early and by the middle of the season was off the team as he struggled with substance abuse. However, due to the stellar play of Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker the Celtics remained a playoff contender finishing in third place and qualifying for the playoffs for the second straight season with a record of 44-38. In the playoffs the Celtics got off to a fast start against the Indiana Pacers as Paul Pierce scored 21 points in the 4th Quarter of Game as the Celtics rallied to win on the road 103-100. The Celtics would go on to establish a 3-1 series lead, before finishing off the upset of the Pacers in six games. However, in the second round the Celtics season would come to a crashing end as they were dominated in a four game sweep by the New Jersey Nets.
2003/04: Just as the season was ready to start the Celtics now run by General Manager Danny Ainge made a stunning trade shipping Antoine Walker and Tony Delk off to the Dallas Mavericks for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills and a lottery pick. None of whom made any noticeable contribution for the Celtics as they got off to a shaky start. The trade also started a rift between Coach Jim O’Brien and Ainge which would get worse after the Celtics acquired Ricky Davis from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eric Williams at the end of January, which would lead to the resignation of O’Brien. With assistant John Carroll taking over on the bench for the rest of the season the Celtics won just three games in February as they fell behind in the playoff chase. When Danny Ainge stated that the Celtics were better off missing the playoffs. The statement seemed to motivate the lackadaisical Celtics who got back in the playoff picture with a 9-4 March. Despite struggling down the stretch the Celtics would make the playoffs as the eighth seed with a less then stellar record of 36-46. In the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers the Celtics would make a quick exit as they lost all four games by double digits.
2004/05: Playing under new Coach Doc Rivers the Celtics would get off to a mediocre start as they held a 13-16 of December. However in the Atlantic Division awash with mediocrity they were right in the race for first place. After more mediocre play in January the Celtics began to play better in February sliding above .500 at the trade deadline the Celtics would reacquire Antoine Walker from the Atlanta Hawks for Gary Payton who the Hawks would release and would return to the Celtics with in a few weeks, which would later prompt a NBA rule change. The move to acquire Walker had an immediate effect as the Celtics won ten of their next 11 to cease control of the Atlantic Division, as they won their first Division title in 13 years with a record of 45-37. In the playoffs the Celtics would face the Indiana Pacers, and would start off strong winning Game 1 at home 102-82 However the Pacer would bounce back to win the next two games. Faced with falling behind 3-1 the Celtics had a solid team effort in stunning the Pacers on the road 110-79. However they would lose the momentum at home losing Game 5. With their season on the line the Celtics stayed alive with a dramatic 92-89 win in overtime on Antoine Walker’s clutch shooting to force a seventh game at home. However, home does not mean what it used to for the Celtics and it showed in a disappointing 97-70 loss as the Celtics unraveled in the second half.
2005/06: Coming off their surprise division championship the Celtics started slowly as fans began to become frustrated with General Manager Danny Ainge, who failed to re-sign Gary Payton and Antoine Walker. The much younger Celtics would quickly fall below .500 and never were a factor in the playoff race. As the struggles continued the Celtics continued to retool trading Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, and two conditional second round draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for forward Wally Szczerbiak, centers Michael Olowokandi and Dwayne Jones, and a first round pick. Szczerbiak would play well in Boston, but it would end up being a lost season for the Celtics as they finished in third place with a disappointing record of 33-49.
2006/07: Just days before the season started the Celtics were dealt an emotional blow, when their patriarch Red Auerbach died at the age of 89. Auerbach had build the Celtics into a dynasty coaching them to nine title in a ten year span including eight in a row, then as President, building championship teams in the 70s and 80s. When the season started the days of Red Auerbach seemed like a distant memory as the Celtics lost six of their first seven games, on the way to a 5-13 start. In December the Celtics started to play better as they embarked on a five game winning streak. However, after losing Paul Pierce to a foot injury the Celtics crumbled, winning just three of their next 42 games, including a franchise record 18-game losing streak that lasted from January 5th to February 14th, as they plunged into last place. Adding to the pain was the loss of another Celtics legend Dennis Johnson, who suffered a heat attack on February 22nd at the age of 52, while coaching the Celtics NBDL affiliate the Austin Toros. When Pierce returned the Celtics played better, winning five of six games in early March. A few weeks later on St. Patrick’s Day the Celtics got the Irish sprit with in them as they stunned the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs on the road 91-85. However, nagging injuries would continue to hamper Paul Pierce who sat out all of April as the Celtics finished with a horrible 24-58 record that was the worst in the Eastern Conference. As the Celtics finished with a terrible record focus turned to the draft lottery where the Celtics were confident they could land one of the top two picks, allowing them to land either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. However, even the draft lottery came out all wrong for the Celtics who ended up settling for the fifth Pick. With fans angry at General Manager Danny Ainge, there came a sense of desperation to fix the Celtics franchise, so an attempt was made to land Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves, at first Garnett too spurned the Celtics, who was in a hopeless situation in Minnesota and saw Boston as being in even great disrepair. However, Ainge did not give up trading the 5th overall pick along with Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to the Seattle Super Sonics in exchange for Ray Allen and the 35th overall pick, which they used to draft Glen Davis of LSU. The Allen trade led to a change in perception of the Celtics, and a change of heart for Garnett who would accept a deal to Boston, who sent Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair to the Timberwolves in return, thus turning the Celtics from hopeless to Championship contenders virtually overnight.
2007/08: With renewed excitement in Boston, the Celtics started the season fast winning their first eight games, on the way to a 13-2 record in November. The Celtics played even better in December, where they won 13 of 14 games, and entered the New Year with a 26-3 record, on the way to a franchise best 29-3 start. The Celtics would use the great start and would never be caught as they cruised to the best overall record in the NBA at 66-16. Along the way their big acquisition Kevin Garnett provided steady defense all season, and became the first Celtic to win Defensive Player of the Year. In the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks the Celtics easily won the first two games at home. However, as the series shifted to Atlanta the Celtics stumbled, losing the next two games. Back in Boston for Game 5 the Celtics found their game, winning 110-85. However, the Hawks would again win in Atlanta in Game 6, as the series went the full seven games. With Game 7 back in Boston, it would be all Celtics as they won 99-65, but after a seven game series the Celtics had to work allot harder then expected. In the second round the Celtics struggled in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavallies, as they scored just 12 points in the 3rd Quarter. However, the Celtics defense stood firm, and helped them pull out a 76-72 victory at home. After taking Game 2 at home, the Celtics again stubbed their toe on the road losing the next two in Cleveland. After a solid Game 5 win at home, the Celtics again found themselves needing to win Game 7 as they lost their sixth straight road playoff game. However, in the series deciding seventh game Paul Pierce won a shoot out with LeBron James, scoring 41 points as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 97-92 win. In the Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons the Celtics started the series with their ninth straight home win, winning Game 1 by a score of 88-79. However, in Game 2 the Pistons were able to end the Celtics dominance at home, winning 103-97. Needing to end their road losing streak the Celtics came up big in Game 3, led by Kevin Garnett who delivered a double-double as the Celtics won 94-80. After dropping Game 4, the Celtics regained their home court edge, winning 106-102, as Ray Allen who struggled through out the playoffs came to life hitting a huge basket to give the Celtics a lead with one minute left as he scored 29 points. Back in Detroit for Game 6, the Celtics used a big fourth quarter and the play of Paul Pierce to close out the Celtics, as the man who been in green and white through some of the hardest days scored 27 points with 8 rebounds as the Celtics scored 31 points in the final quarter to win the game 89-81.
2008 NBA Finals: In the NBA Finals for the first time in 21 years it only seemed natural that their opponents would be the Los Angeles Lakers for the 11th time. In Game 1 in Boston the Lakers got off to a fast start, holding a 51-43 lead at halftime. Things appeared bleak for the Celtics when Paul Pierce was carried off the floor with a sour knee. However, back in the locker-room Pierce was able to walk it off, and came back on the court to lead the Celtics to a comeback win scoring 15 points after returning from his injury in the third quarter as the Celtics won the opener 98-88. In Game 2 the Celtics would race out to a huge early lead as they entered the fourth quarter with a 24-point lead, as Pierce showed no ill effect of his knee injury. However, the Lakers scored 41 points in the final period and went on a 31-9 to pull with in two points with 38.4 seconds left. However, James Posey made two key free throws as the Celtics held on to a 108-102 victory. As the series shifted to Los Angeles, the Lakers took Game 3 led by 36 points from Kobe Bryant 87-81. The Celtics got off to a bad start in Game 4, and trailed midway through the third quarter by 24 points. However, led by Paul Pierce and the Celtics bench the team in green came storming back and took a 3-1 series lead with a 97-91 victory. With the NBA trophy in reach the Celtics again looked to Paul Pierce to close things out in Los Angeles. However, despite 38 points from Pierce, the Lakers won the game 103-98. The loss in Game 5 only meant that the Celtics would get to celebrate in front of their home fans at the Banknorth Garden. Game 6 would not even be close as the Celtics took a stranglehold with 34 points in the second quarter. The Celtics would continue to pull away in the second half leading by as many as 44 points, as the Celtics won 131-92. Paul Pierce would earn NBA Finals MVP as the Celtics celebrated their NBA record 17th Championship with Pierce, giving Coach Doc Rivers a NFL style Gatorade Bath on the sidelines, while an emotional Kevin Garnett shouted, “Anything’s Possible!” as the Celtics completed the greatest single season turnaround in NBA history.
2008/09: Coming of their first championship in more than 20 years, the Celtics appeared to be going for another right away, as they got off to the best start in franchise history, by winning 27 of their first 29 games, which included a franchise best 19 game winning streak. The Celtics would later add a 12 game winning streak as they held a 41-9 record on February 3rd. Both streaks would be ended by the rival Los Angeles Lakers, as the two teams appeared to be on another collision course. However, the Celtics hit a big bump in the road, when Kevin Garnett suffered a knee injury, as the Celtics posted a 12-8 record following the All-Star Break, losing the top spot in the Eastern Conference to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Garnett would attempt to return, but he only managed nine points per game in four games, before being forced to shut down for the rest of the season. Despite the loss of KG the Celtics still went on to easily win the Atlantic Division with a record of 62-20. In the playoffs the Celtics got off to a shaky start as they lost Game 1 at home to the Chicago Bulls 105-103 in overtime. The Celtics would rebound to win the next games, before the Bulls stole another in overtime to even the series at two games apiece. Trailing late in Game 5 the Celtics looked to be in trouble as Ray Allen fouled out. However, Paul Pierce tied the game to force overtime, where he hit three big shots to give the Celtics a vital 106-104 victory. Game 6 would also go beyond the limit as the Bulls edged the Celtics 128-127 in triple overtime to force a decisive seventh game. In Game 7 with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each scoring more than 20 points the Celtics won 109-99 to advance to the second round. The Celtics would not have much time to rest as they faced the Orlando Magic just two days later, losing Game 1 again at home 95-90. However, with Eddie House scoring 31 points the Celtics rebounded to even the series with a 112-94 win in Game 2. After an embarrassing 117-96 loss in Game 3, the Celtics appeared in danger of falling behind in the series 3-1 as they trailed late in Game 4. However, Glen Davis nailed a 21 foot jump shot as time expired to give the Celtics a 95-94 win to even the series. Earlier in the season Davis, seemed to carry his “Big Baby” nickname too far when he was caught pouting after being chewed out in the huddle by Kevin Garnett. Now, seeing significant playing time in Garnett’s absence “Big Baby” seemed to become a man over night. Davis would have another big game as the series returned to Boston, scoring 22 points as the Celtics rallied from a 14 point deficit to beat the Magic 92-88 to take control of the series. The Magic would rebound to force a seventh game taking Game 6 in Orlando 83-75. With Game 7 in Boston though it appeared as if the Celtics still had everything in their favor, however, after two tough seven game series, and the absence of Kevin Garnett appeared to finally catch up with them, as they were never really in the game, losing 101-82.
2009/10: After their disappoint second round exit the Celtics looked to get back to the NBA Finals, as they signed veteran Rasheed Wallace. Early on things looked good for the Celtics who started the season with a 95-89 win on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers with Paul Pierce posting a solid game with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The Celtics would win their first six games and eight of their first nine on the way to a 23-5 start as they led the Atlantic Division wire to wire. However, as 2009 came to an end the Celtics began to look old as they lost three straight games during a Holiday Western road swing. In January the Celtics continued to struggle losing six of eight games, while posting a 6-8 record for the month. The most frustrating of these losses was a January 31st home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, as Kobe Bryant won the game 90-89 with a late jumper. The Celtics continued to play mediocre basketball in February as they slipped in the Eastern Conference standings, posting a 7-5 record for the month. However, on February 27th they suffered a great indignity at TD Garden as they lost to the terrible New Jersey Nets 104-96, who entered the game with a 5-52 record. The loss to the Nets seemed to be a bit of a wakeup call for the Celtics who posted an 11-5 record in March. As April arrived the Celtics were all but locked into the fourth seed, as the only team in the Atlantic Division with a winning record, though not holding a better record than the Atlanta Hawks who were in second place in the Southeast Division. They would go on to finish the season with a record of 50-32. In the playoffs the Celtics met the Miami Heat in the opening round, and got off to a strong start with their defense as they limited the Miami Heat to 32 points in the second half of Game 1 on the way to an 85-76 win. Game 2 was more of the same as the Celtics defense smothered the Heat 106-77 to leave Boston with a 2-0 series lead. The Celtics would take a 3-0 lead as the series shifted to Miami, as Paul Pierce capped a 32 point effort with 21 foot buzzer beater to give the Celtics a 100-98 victory. The Heat would avert a sweep as Dwyane Wade scored 46 points in a 101-92 win in Game 4. However, returning to Boston, the Celtics closed the series in five games with a 96-86 win. In the second round the Celtics were an underdog as they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers who posted the best record in the NBA during the regular season at 61-21. The Celtics were able to get a split in Cleveland, with a solid 104-86 win in Game 2, as Rajon Rondo played playmaker with 19 assists in a balanced effort by the Celtics. However, as the series shifted to Boston the Celtics delivered one of their worst efforts of the season as the suffered a lackluster 124-95 loss in Game 3. Needing to even the series, the Celtics got a huge effort from Rajon Rondo who had a triple double with 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists to lead the way to a 97-87 win. Back in Cleveland for Game 5, the Celtics got control of the series with a stunning 120-88 win; as they would go on to win the series in six games, as the Celtics defense kept the Cavs in check with a 94-85 win. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Celtics faced the Orlando Magic, and once again were underdogs starting the series on the road. However, the Celtics got off to a quick start winning the opener 92-88 as Ray Allen scored 25 points and Paul Pierce scored 22. It was more of the same in Game 2, as Pierce scored 28 and Rajon Rondo scored 25 points in a 95-92 win. As the series shifted to Boston, it was the Celtics defense that won the day shutting down the Magic completely in a 94-71 win in Game 3. Looking to complete the sweep, the Celtics suffered a setback in Game 4, losing 96-92 in overtime. The Magic would also win Game 5 in Orlando 113-92. However, with Paul Pierce posting 31 points and 13 rebounds the Celtics would close out the series with a 96-84 win in Game 6.
2010 NBA Finals: In the NBA Finals the Celtics were matched up once again with the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing the opener 102-89, the Celtics got the all important split in Los Angeles, winning 103-92 in Game 2 as Ray Allen scored 32 points as Rajon Rondo posted another triple double. However, the Celtics came out flat in Game 3 as the series shifted to Boston, losing 91-84. In Game 4, the Celtics dominated the game in the paint outscoring the Lakers 54-34, while they also got 36 points off the bench in a series evening 96-89 win. The Celtics would also score a 92-86 win in Game 5, as the series shifted back to Staples Center with the Celtics needing just one more win for their 18th NBA Championship. However, in Game 6 the Celtics suffered a big blow when Kendrick Perkins their big defense presence in the middle suffered torn knee ligaments early in the 1st Quarter. Without their enforced the Celtics looked lost, as the Lakers forced a seventh game with an 89-67 win. In Game 7, the Celtics would be without Perkins again, but they started off strong leading 23-14 after the 1st Quarter. The Celtics would also hold a 40-34 lead at halftime and held a 13 point lead in during the 3rd Quarter. However, the absence of Kendrick Perkins would take its toll as the Lakers continued to chip at the lead as the Lakers got 23 rebounds and had 20 more foul shots as Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace all go into foul trouble. The Lakers would take over the game in the 4th Quarter and go on to win the NBA Title 83-79. All seven games of the series were won by the team that held the rebounding edge. Without Kendrick Perkins the Celtics were unable to do that in the final two games.
2010/11: After losing a heart breaking NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games, the Celtics needed to get bigger in the middle, as Kendrick Perkins was on the injuried list at the start of the season as he was recovering from torn knee ligaments in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics would sign Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal for this very reason. However, from the start both O’Neals struggled to stay healthy as Jermaine O’Neal missed 58 games with knee and wrist injuries, while Shaquille O’Neal was clearly a shell of his Hall of Fame career, as a 19 year career had take its toll. The Celtics would begin the season against the Miami Heat, who had stolen all the headlines in the off-season by joining LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Dwyane Wade. However, the Celtics would spoil the Heat’s big three debut, winning at TD Garden 88-80, as Rajon Rondo had 17 assists to lead the way. The Celtics with their own big three, which was becoming a big four with the continued emergence of Rondo, got off to a great start posting a 23-4 record entering a Christmas Day matchup with the Orlando Magic. The Celtics winning streak would end on Christmas as the Magic earned an 86-78 victory. After losing three of their last four games in December, the Celtics got back on track in January, winning 9-of-11 games. As January came to a close the Celtics got an emotional boost as Kendrick Perkins returned from his knee injury. The Celtics would go into the All-Star Break with a record of 40-14. After the break the team would be delivered a jolt, as General Manager, worried about losing Kendrick Perkins to free agency decided to trade the popular center to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Nate Robinson for Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic and a draft pick. The players expressed dissatisfaction with the moves, as the Celtics struggled in March, with a 9-7 record. The Celtics would hold on to win the Atlantic Division, with a record of 56-26. However, their post trade struggles became a point to worry about as the playoffs began. In the first round the Celtics would face the New York Knicks. Trailing 85-84 late in Game 1, the Celtics got a three point shot from Ray Allen with 12 seconds left to win the opener 87-85. In Game 2 the Celtics overcame a 42 point night from Carmelo Anthony to win 96-93, as Rajon Rondo had a playoff career high 30 points. As the series shifted to New York, the Celtics took a 3-0 stranglehold in the series as Paul Pierce scored 38 points in a 113-96 win. The Celtics would go on to complete the sweep with a 101-89 win, as Kevin Garnett scored 26 points with 10 boards. In the second round against the Miami Heat things would be much tougher as the Heat won the opener 99-90. After losing 102-91 in Game 2, the series shifted to Boston where the Celtics answered back, winning 97-81, as Kevin Garnett scored 28 points with 18 rebounds. The game would come with a price, as Rajon Rondo suffered a dislocated elbow. Rondo would gut it out and dish out 11 assists, while essentially playing with one arm. The Celtics would find themselves in overtime in Game 4, with a chance to even the series. However, they would only manage four points in the extra session as the Heat won the game 98-90. The Heat would go on to win the series in five games.
2011/12: When the season began after a two month lockout, age was the biggest concern for the Celtics, as they looked old down the stretch of the 2011 season, as they acquired Brandon Bass from the Orlando Magic for Glen Davis and Von Wafer. The Celtics would get off to a slow start, as they lost their first three games on the road, including the season opener against the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. The Celtics would rebound to win their next four games, but could not stay above .500 or get any momentum going as some thought the Celtics would be better off breaking the team apart and rebuilding. The Celtics would go in to the All-Star Break on a five game losing streak with a disappointing record of 15-17, as the playoffs seemed to be in serious doubt. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were both bright spots for the Celtics making the All-Star team. Pierce led the team in scoring with 19.4 ppg, while Rondo led the team with 11.7 assists per game. After the break, the Celtics began to show some signs of life, winning five straight games. Helping the Celtics resurgence was the play of Kevin Garnett who struggled much of the first half but turned things around and finished the season with 15.8 ppg and a team high 8.2 rebounds per game. The Celtics would post a 12-5 record during March, as they won all six games at TD Garden. Despite a season ending injury for Jermaine O’Neal the Celtics continued their strong play in April, posting a record of 10-5 as they won the Atlantic Division with a record of 39-27.
2012 Playoffs: As the playoffs began, there was a sense that this could be the last dance for the Celtics, as both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were about to become free agents. Facing the Atlanta Hawks, in the first round the Celtics reverted to their early season woes, as they struggled in Game 1 on the road, suffering a 83-74 loss. With Paul Pierce scoring 36 points with 14 rebounds the Celtics would bounce back with an 87-80 win to even the series. As the series shifted to Boston, the Celtics took control of the series, winning 90-84 in Game 3 behind a triple double from Rajon Rondo. The Celtics continued to role at TD Garden, as they won Game 4 easily 101-79. The Hawks would survive in Game 5, winning 87-86 as Rondo’s pass to Garnett was intercepted by Josh Smith. Back in Boston for Game 6, it was KG who led the way scoring 28 points with 14 boards as the Celtics advanced with an 83-80 victory. Before the second round even began the Celtics appeared to get a break when Derrick Rose suffered a knee injury as the Chicago Bulls, the top seed in the East were upset by the Philadelphia 76ers. However, Game 1 would show the Celtics were in for a tough test, as they needed a triple double from Rajon Rondo and 29 points from Kevin Garnett to overcome a ten point deficit in the fourth quarter to win the opener 92-91. Despite a strong fourth quarter the Celtics were unable to comeback in Game 2, as the Sixers evened the series with an 82-81 win. As the series shifted to Philly, the Celtics opened things up as both Rondo and Garnett again had big games, to lead the Celtics to a 107-91 win. However, the 76ers again responded winning 92-83 to even the series. Back at TD Garden, the Celtics got a big night from Brandon Bass to seize control of the series with a 101-85 win. The Sixers would not go down without a fight, as they forced a seventh game by winning Game 6, 82-75. With Rajon Rondo posting a triple double, the Celtics would win the series with an 85-75 win to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Facing the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals, things did not start well for the Celtics as they were rolled over in the opener 93-79. Rajon Rondo would explode for 44 points in Game 2, but it was not enough as the Celtics lost a heartbreaker in overtime 115-111. With Kevin Garnett and Rondo each having big games the Celtics got back in the series by winning 101-91 at home in Game 3. Back in overtime in Game 4, the Celtics outlasted the Heat 93-91 to even the series as both teams went ice cold n overtime, with the Celtics holding a 4-2 scoring advantage. The Celtics would than steal Game 5 in Miami 94-90, as Garnett continued his monstrous postseason. Needing just one more win to reach the NBA Finals, the Celtics suffered a big let down in Game 6 as they were beaten 98-79, with LeBron James scoring 45 points at TD Garden. With one more chance the Celtics held a seven point halftime lead on the road in Game 7. However, the Heat proved to be too much for the Celtics as LeBron and Miami went on to the NBA Finals with a 101-88, despite another Rondo Triple Double. The Celtics strong performance convinced management to keep Kevin Garnett as he re-signed three-year contract extension with the Celtics worth an estimated $34 million. However, Ray Allen would leave and join the Miami Heat, as the Celtics chose to re-tool rather than rebuild.
2012/13: After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics decided to make another run as they signed Jason Terry to replace Ray Allen who joined the Miami Heat. The Celtics would see Allen in the Heat in the first game of the season, losing 120-107 as Miami raised a Championship Banner. The Celtics would win their home opener two nights later by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 99-88. The Celtics would post a 9-7 record in November, but struggled in December as they went into the New Year with a 14-16 record, as they lost eight of nine away from home. The Celtics continued to have their ups and downs in January as they posted an 8-7 record, around a six game losing streak. However, the biggest concern had to be the growing list of injuries as Rajon Rondo suffered a season ending knee injury on January 25th. Jared Sullinger, who had already established himself as one of the team’s top rebounders in his rookie season, went down with a back injury on February 1st and Leonadro Barbosa was lost with a knee injury on February 11th. To help make up for the loss of two guards the Celtics acquired Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards for Jason Collins and the injured Barbosa. Collins would make news later in the season by becoming the first active NBA Player to reveal that he was a homosexual. Despite the loss of three key players, the Celtics had a solid February as they went 8-4, while winning all five games at T.D. Garden. Despite a mediocre March, the Celtics secured a playoff spot with a 98-93 win over the Detroit Pistons on April 3rd. The Celtics would go on to grab the seventh seed in the East, with a record of 41-40. The Celtics final home game would be cancelled after the Boston Marathon bombing.
2013 Playoffs: The Celtics would face the New York Knicks in the playoffs, during the season the rivalry turned ugly when Carmelo Anthony tired to meet the Celtics team bus, after some vulgar comments made by Kevin Garnett. However, in the playoffs the Celtics found themselves in an early hole as the Knicks easily won the first two games at MSG. Prior to Game 3, the Celtics honored the rescue workers, police and victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing. When the game start the Celtics could not make things any closer as the Knicks won 90-76 to take a 3-0 series lead. The Celtics still would not go down quietly as they delivered a 97-90 win in Game 4, to avoid getting swept. Looking to stay together just a little longer Paul Pierce scored a team high 29 points, while Kevin Garnett had 17 rebounds. Kevin Garnett again had a big game in Game 5, as the Celtics stayed alive with a 92-86 win in New York. Game 6 back in Boston would see the Knicks jump out a 26 point lead in the third quarter. However, the Celtics continued to show the spirit of a champion, getting within four points of tying the game thanks to a 26-4 run. However, the Celtics just ran out of gas at the end as the Knicks won the game 88-80. This would bring an end to the Big Three era in Boston, as the decision to rebuild was made following the season. Rebuilding also meant letting go of Coach Doc Rivers, who was allowed to leave for the Los Angeles Clippers, picking up a 2015 draft pick in return. The Celtics would agree to allow Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to stay together along with Jason Terry, but it would not be in Boston as all three were sent to the Brooklyn Nets for future first-round picks in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 drafts and Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.
2013/14: It was a new era in Boston for the Celtics as the big three was gone, and a new Coach Brad Stevens was given the task of rebuilding the team as quickly as possible. One player the Celtics hoped would be a foundation of the future was seven foot Center Kelly Olynyk who picked with the number 13 overall pick from Gonzaga. With Rajon Rondo still recovering from knee surgery the Celtics got off to a slow start losing their first four games on the way to 4-10 start. In December the Celtics would play better as they tried to inch close to .500. After entering the New Year with record of 13-18 the Celtics hoped to get a boost as Rajon Rondo returned to the floor on January 17th, with the Celtics suffering a nine game losing streak to start 2014. However, Rondo was slow to get in game shape as the Celtics won just two games in January. While the Celtics were suffering their worst stretch of the season, the Celtics were trying to improve the talent, trading Courtney Lee and a 2016 second-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jerryd Bayless on January 7th. A week later the Celtics traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for future first and second round picks as well as Miami Heat center Joel Anthony. The Celtics would struggle the remainder of the season, ending the year with a record of 25-57.
2014/15: Not much was expected from the Boston Celtics entering the season as they continued to focus on the future, with Rajon Rondo on the trading block. Despite opening the season with a 121-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics played down to expectations in the early part of the season, posting 4-11 record in their first 15 games. The Celtics would play better in December, as Rondo was traded to the Dallas Mavericks along with Dwight Powell on December 18th. The Celtics would receive Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and Jameer Nelson along with two future draft picks. The Celtics continued to struggle into the New Year, and finished January with a record of 16-29. It appeared as if the Celtics would fade away quietly as they lost leading rebounder Jared Sullinger to a foot injury. Though the Celtics began to show signs of improvement, posting a 7-4 record in February, including winning five of six at TD Garden. Among the players who helped the Celtics begin to turn things around were Isiah Thomas who was acquired from the Phoenix Suns just before the trade deadline in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a first round pick. Thomas would become Boston’s leading scorer over the last two months, averaging 19 points per game. After posting a 10-8 record in March, the Celtics got an unexpected boost when Jared Sullinger returned on April 3rd. The Celtics would then make an unexpected charge at the playoffs, winning seven of their last eight games to finish with a record of 40-42 to grab the seventh seed.
2015 Playoffs: Facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs the Celtics were a heavy underdog. The Celtics would lose the opener by a score of 113-100. Game 2 would not be any better for Boston, as the Celtics lost 99-91. As the series shifted to Boston, the Cavaliers continued their domination, winning 113-95 with LeBron Hames scoring 31 points with 13 boards. The Cavs would go on to sweep the series, winning the finale 101-93. However, the Celtics gave Cleveland something to remember as Kelly Olynk pulled Kevin Love’s arm out of its socket. Love would miss the remainder of the postseason as the Cavaliers went on to the NBA Finals.
2015/16: After their surprise playoff appearance, the Boston Celtics looked to improve with Isaiah Thomas on the team for the entire season. Thomas had a good start to the season scoring 27 points with seven assists as the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-95 to open the season. The Celtics had their ups and downs in the first two months, as they went into the New Year holding a record of 18-14. January would be a tale of two months for the Celtics. In the early part of the month, they struggled losing five of six as they slipped to .500. They would quickly rebound and played their best basketball of the season, winning eight of their next ten games. Boston continued the momentum in February, as they posted their best month at 9-3. This included 104-103 road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 5th. February would be a special month for Isaiah Thomas as he was an All-Star for the first time in his career, leading the Celtics in scoring with 22.2 points per game, and assists with 6.2 per game. After a mediocre March that saw them scuffle along at 7-7, the Celtics go their most satisfying win of the season on April 1st as they ended the Golden State Warriors record 54-game home winning streak with a 109-106 win at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. The Celtics five of seven games in April, as they were one of four teams to finish tied for third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 48-34.
2016 NBA Playoffs: The Boston Celtics would draw the fifth seed and face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. The Hawks took the opener 102-101 as the Celtics second half rally fell just short. However, the biggest loss was when Avery Bradley their top perimeter defender suffered a hamstring injury. Defense was not the problem in Game 2, as the Celtics had one of the worst starts to a game in NBA history, managing just seven points in the first quarter the worst for an opening playoff quarter since the shot clock in 1954 as they suffered an 89-72 loss. Returning home was just what the Celtics and Isaiah Thomas needed, as he scored 42 points with the Celtics posting a 111-103 win in Game 3. The Celtics would need overtime to even the series with a 104-95 win in Game 4 as they outscored the Hawks 12-3 after rallying in the fourth quarter. Thomas was once again the leading scorer with 28 points, while Marcus Smart had a big game with 11 of his 20 points in the final 12 minutes of regulation. Back in Atlanta the Celtics found themselves down again as the Hawks pulled away with a 42-point third quarter to win the game 110-83. The third quarter in Game 6 at TD Garden would also be the undoing for Boston as the Hawks scored 39 points and won the game 104-92 to advance to the second round.
2016/17: After a somewhat disappointing first round exit to the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics looked to improve upon last year’s performance. The addition of power forward Al Horford through free agency was initially met with mixed reviews as many fans thought that his expansive contract warranted higher performance and issues with concussions led him to missing several early season games. The Celtics looked to be in similar position to the previous season with an 10-8 record by the end of November. Despite the mediocre start, the Celtics fate would change as they played better as the season went along and went on to have a record of 53-29, earning them the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Much of this success was due to the offensive power provided by their pint-sized point guard Isaiah Thomas who averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game throughout the season, with most of his points coming at crunch time in the fourth quarter. Several games relied on extensive offensive displays from Thomas including matchups against the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards in January while his starting backcourt partner Avery Bradley was sidelined with an ankle injury. Aside from Thomas, the Celtics also saw improved play from second year guard Terry Rozier with 5.5 ppg and defensive specialist Marcus Smart with 10.6 ppg.
2016/17 Playoffs: High hopes and expectations were placed on the Boston Celtics after earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for star point guard Isaiah Thomas issues beyond the basketball court came at a difficult time. The day before the start of the series Thomas’ younger sister Chyna had passed away in a car accident in his home state of Washington. In addition to Thomas’ off court tragedy the young team would soon be met with a reality check after losing its first two games at home to the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls by scores of 106-102 and 111-97. The team was being heavily outrebounded by the Bulls, as Robin Lopez dominated the Celtics frontcourt on the glass. Many began to panic and question whether coach Brad Stevens had the ability to win in the postseason. Stevens and the team would weather the storm and go on to win the next four games to defeat the Bulls, beginning with a pair of clutch wins in the United Center by scores of 104-87 and 104-95. After the series was even the Celtics delivered a 108-97 win in Game 5, as they went on to close the series with a 105-83 win in the finale at the TD Garden. The next round would prove exciting as the Celtics were set to face off with the Washington Wizards. The Celtics and Wizards had a split season series with several notable feuds including one between Celtics small forward Jae Crowder and Wizards point guard John Wall. Expectations for this series in both Boston and Washington were high and both teams’ performances would live up to the hype. Boston would take the opener at home by a score of 123-111. The Celtics also won Game 2 in overtime 129-1119 with Isaiah Thomas having the game of his life scoring 53 points. As the series shifted down the Atlantic coast, the Wizard superstar backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal lead them to two convincing home victories by scores of 116-89 and 121-102. The series remained a homecourt series throughout as the Celtics delivered a 123-101 win at the TD Garden in Game 5, while the Wizards won Game 6 at the Verizon Center 92-91. As the series came to a deciding game, an unlikely hero emerged, reserve forward Kelly Olynyk scored a team high 26 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter, winning 115-105. The Celtics would advance to the Eastern Conference finals against Lebron James and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Here the Celtics found themselves in a familiar sport losing the first two games on their home floor by scores of 117-104 and 130-86. The Celtics seemed hopeless especially after Game 2 which ended in a 44-point route by James and the Cavaliers and a season ending hip injury to Isaiah Thomas. In an unlikely turn of events the Celtics were able to earn a gritty 111-108 victory in Game 3 at Cleveland with the help of an unlikely shooting performance from Marcus Smart, who scored 27 points. In Game 4 of the series it appeared the Celtics may have been able to even the series as they had an early lead and were able to contain Lebron James. This series rally was soon squashed as Kyrie Irving’s 42 points lead to the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win to build a commanding 3-1 series lead. Unlike several notable series from the previous season the 3-1 lead would not be challenged by the Celtics as Cleveland closed out the series with a 135-102 win in Game 5 at Boston, earning them a spot against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Boston Celtics of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on November 15, 2002. Last updated on May 11, 2018 at 11:40 am ET.