The Boston Celtics’ Worst Season: 1997

The Boston Celtics have only rarely in their history been bad. 17 championships, five other Finals appearances including the 2022 season, 13 60-win seasons (including two in 80-game seasons), a 59-win season in just 75 games in 1960…they’re a franchise with a long and illustrious history of success. Except in the late 1990s. After Larry Bird and Kevin McHale retired and before Kevin Garnett showed up, the Celtics were an absolute joke. Yeah, they made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002, but that was after defeating Detroit in a semifinal that included a game (Game 3) the Celtics won 66-64. …

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How Important is Game 5 in a Tied NBA Finals?

As this goes to press, Game 5 is about to tip off between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Celtics won Game 3 but lost Game 4, and while that’s not ideal for them the way taking a 3-1 lead back to San Francisco with them would’ve been (2016 aside, that’s pretty much an automatic win), it does put them into an absolutely critical Game 5. The winner of this series can afford to lose Game 6. The loser is going to have not one but two elimination games ahead of them if …

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Tied at 2-2, are the 2022 NBA Finals Over?

As we’ve demonstrated repeatedly over the past few weeks here (just look at the last few articles on the home page of this here site for the many, many ways we’ve carved up 7-game series scenarios during these playoffs), if you are the underdog in the NBA Finals and you win Game 3 to go up 2-1, the absolute worst thing you can do for your cause is to go out there and hand home court back by losing Game 4. Well…the Boston Celtics did exactly that Friday night, losing Game 4 to send the series back to San Francisco …

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Kevin Durant, Stephen A. Smith, and Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt Kevin Durant and Stephen A. Smith got into a beef on Twitter last week over the former accusing the latter of ruining the NBA while the latter complained that the league’s shift toward marketing personalities—Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and every other star great and small—in the 1990s set the league up for its issues in the past couple of years where TV ratings fell off a cliff in as much time as it took LeBron’s Lakers to collapse. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics, a team that …

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The 2022 Boston Celtics Broke NBA Playoff History

A funny thing happened in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Boston Celtics, a team that has perennially been not quite good enough to win a title but good enough to make a serious run at one since 2017, a team right out of the 1980s in the sense of “every Western Conference team other than the Rockets that couldn’t beat Magic Johnson in the conference finals”, finally broke through. And when they beat the Miami Heat in Game 7, the team that had thwarted them in the COVID bubble in 2020, they absolutely turned on its head everything we all …

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The Boston Celtics’ “Only Very Good” Problem

The Boston Celtics, by virtue of having won a convoluted three-way tiebreaker, took the 2 seed in the 2022 Eastern Conference. If they can get past the 7-seed Brooklyn Nets and the winner of the 3-seed Milwaukee Bucks and 6-seed Chicago Bulls in the second round, it will be Boston’s fourth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the past six seasons stretching back to 2017. The problem is that Boston hasn’t broken through and gone to the NBA Finals since 2010. And for a franchise whose 17 championships stand tied with the rival Los Angeles Lakers for the most …

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The Boston Celtics’ Best Season: 1986

The Boston Celtics have, as a franchise, won 17 NBA championships, won at least 60 games 13 times, seen their franchise legends not just make the Hall of Fame but make a case for inclusion on the All-Time All-NBA list—Bill Russell at center and Larry Bird at small forward are at minimum Third Team and at best Second Team guys at their respective positions (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James are the best center and small forward ever, and you could make the case for Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen as second-best.) So it’s hard to choose just which season was …

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The Greatest Dynasties in NBA History

In celebration of their new sponsorship deal with the NBA, Mondelez International, makers of delicious junk food, decided to launch a line of Oreo cookies celebrating the NBA’s great dynasties. Featured on the cookies will be the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors, and…the Miami Heat. Excuse me, what? A Miami team that won just two titles in four years while being broadly regarded as responsible for the only two of LeBron James‘ six Finals losses that could be legitimately said to tarnish the legacy of a guy who otherwise has a claim …

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COVID-19 and the Memory of Reggie Lewis

In 1993, Celtics star Reggie Lewis, the inheritor of the mantle of Boston’s Big Three days, the franchise cornerstone who was going to lead the Celtics into a new era after Larry Bird and Kevin McHale retired and Robert Parish went on his farewell tour, passed away from a heart condition that first manifested itself in an on-court collapse in the playoffs and finally claimed his life in a practice session on July 27. In 2015, your intrepid basketball columnist checked into the emergency room at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland with a rapid heartbeat of 240 beats …

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Doc Rivers: Worst Coach to Ever Win an NBA Title

Sometimes, a great coach takes a team to the next level and leads them to a championship, bringing the talent together and leaving open questions of just how bad the last guy was that he couldn’t figure it out. Steve Kerr taking over for Mark Jackson and leading the Golden State Warriors to glory in 2015 comes to mind. So does Larry Brown working his magic on the Detroit Pistons to get them to two straight NBA Finals and that 2004 title over a Lakers team that was about to implode. Heck, if you’re old enough to remember it, Dick …

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