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Boston Celtics Quest for Banner 18 Will Have to Wait 11

Posted on May 16, 2011 by Raj Prashad

Banner 18 or Bust?

Every Celtics fan must have gone through the 2010 summer slump, as we sat and watched the Lakers celebrate, then thought, “Next season is 18 or bust.”

Honestly, as a fan, was that fair of us or to the organization? Was it fair to think, “This team has to win a title, or this season will be a total failure.”

Most teams consider finishing the season .500, making the playoffs, getting to the second round, or making it to the Finals a success. In Boston, we have a championship atmosphere. This last decade has provided the greatest city on earth some breathtaking moments, but is it fair to think championship or bust on any given season?

I was one of those fans sitting there after game seven, saying “If Perk….If Rasheed….If If IF.” The offseason would prove difficult as many pieces, including Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were thought to be moving on. Then Danny Ainge made some incredible moves with such a restricted salary. Doc came back and Ray Allen re-signed. Then Paul Pierce made the ultimate sacrifice, he took less money to stay in Boston and allowed the management to do what they could. Ainge signed Jermaine O’Neal, Von Wafer, Delonte West, Marquis Daniels, and Nate Robinson all for bargain deals. He got the legend of LA, Shaquille O’Neal, to sign for the minimum and put together a pretty solid bench. We were given hope. Hell, the motto for the regular season was, “It’s All About 18.” Read the rest of this entry →

Heat Knock Off Celtics to Reach Eastern Conference Finals 2

Posted on May 12, 2011 by Raj Prashad

Lebron James punctuated the series victory for the Heat over Paul Pierce and the Celtics.

For the last time in the 2011 NBA season, the Boston Celtics failed to close out a game they had in their grasps.

Lebron James and Dwayne Wade finally conquered their biggest test from the heavily stacked Eastern Conference Wednesday night in a 97-87 win over the Celtics to move forward to the Eastern Conference Finals series.

Lebron scored the final 10 points of the fourth quarter on his way to sending the veteran Boston team packing for the summer. While playing against the struggling Paul Pierce, five fouls entering the fourth quarter, James had space he normally wouldn’t to attack the rim and change direction at will. Pierce was forced to play off the athletic big man and allowed James to control the pace on the offensive end of the court en route to two consecutive dagger threes in the final minutes. Without their attacking captain, the C’s went scoreless for the last 4:15 of regulation as the Heat went on a 16-0 run to finish the original Boston Big 3 that has controlled the East for the last three years. Read the rest of this entry →

30 Years Ago: Celtics Edge Sixers In Series For The Ages 3

Posted on April 29, 2011 by A.J. Foss

In 1981 Julius Erving was at the top of his game and Larry Bird was an emerging superstar in the NBA.

Thirty years ago, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers faced off in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is quite possibly the greatest NBA playoff series of all time.

The series went seven games, had five games decided by two points or less, and featured the Celtics overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals.

1981 was the second year of the Larry Bird era, who had won the rookie of the year in 1980 and had lead the Celtics to the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history, as Boston finished with a 61-21 record, before falling to the Sixers in five games of the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the offseason, Bird would be joined with center Robert Parish and rookie power forward Kevin McHale, in forming the “Big Three” of the Bird era.

To go along with this legendary frontline, was point guard Nate “Tiny” Archibald and starting forward Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell as Boston went 62-20 in the regular season for the NBA’s best record.

The Sixers also went 62-20 in the regular season as they were led by forward Julius Erving,

who averaged 24.6 points and 8 rebounds per game, to win the MVP award for the regular season.

In addition to “Dr. J”, the Sixers’ lineup featured center Daryl Dawkins, known as “Chocolate Thunder”, defensive specialist Bobby Jones, a pair of point guards in Maurice Cheeks and Lionel Hollins, and a rookie guard off the bench, that would become known as the “Boston Strangler”, Andrew Toney. Read the rest of this entry →

In the NBA, Great Teams Still Top Great Individuals 0

Posted on March 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

It will take more than just the "Big 3" if the Miami Heat hope to win a championship.

The recent struggles of the Miami Heat offer another reminder that it takes more than just having great players to make a great team. Though the Heat have two of the best players in the game in Lebron James and Dwyane Wade and another All Star in Chris Bosh, they have yet to develop the chemistry needed to become championship contenders.

Through NBA history, there have been many teams with two or three superstars. However, what has helped some squads rise above the others to championship level has often been having a supporting cast specifically designed to accent the strengths of the star players.

Here is a look at five teams that had at least two superstars, but became super teams because of the supporting cast that filled specific roles and allowed the stars to be stars.

1980s Los Angeles Lakers – Arguably, the trio of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy makes James, Wade and Bosh look like the Three Stooges. When you add to the mix players like Byron Scott, Norm Nixon, Mychal Thompson, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, A.C. Green, Jamaal Wilkes and Bob McAdoo you have the makings of a team that won five World Championships and reached four other NBA Finals in a 12 year stretch.

1980s Boston Celtics – To compete with the great Lakers teams, the Boston Celtics of the 1980s had to have their own stable of superstars and great supporting players. While the supporting cast evolved over the decade, the trio of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale was constant. At various times during the decade, the supporting cast that helped them to three titles and five finals in the decade included Tiny Archibald, Chris Ford, Cedric Maxwell, Gerald Henderson, Rick Robey , Danny Ainge, Quinn Buckner, Dennis Johnson, Scott Wedman, Bill Walton and M.L. Carr. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy Birthday Bill Russell 4

Posted on February 12, 2011 by Joe Gill

Vintage Athlete of the Month: Bill Russell

In honor of Bill Russell’s 77th birthday on February 12th, we are pulling out a recap of his legendary career that was originally published on the Boston Sports Then and Now site.

Before he even entered the NBA, Russell experienced his share of collegiate basketball glory while playing for San Francisco State. Russell was the defensive core of a team that won 55 games in a row.

Russell was a shot blocking machine during his college career. After batting away 13 shots against the NCAA basketball powerhouse UCLA, legendary coach John Wooden said of Russell, “He is the greatest defensive man I’ve ever seen.”

And defense does indeed win championships in basketball, as SF State won back to back NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956.

Due to his stellar collegiate career, Bill Russell was an easy choice for captain of the US Olympic Men’s Basketball team in 1956. His winning ways continued on the world’s biggest stage. The United States squad would go on to defeat the USSR, 89-55 to capture the gold medal.

Before the age of 22, Bill Russell experienced championship glory three times.

And he was far from done.

The 6’9” center was a top prospect in the 1956 draft. The only question was which NBA franchise would choose this natural born winner.

Read the rest of this entry →

Kevin Garnett Makes Magical Return Against Orlando 0

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Raj Prashad

Garnett's energy was outstanding in his return from injury Monday night.

After missing nine games with a calf strain, the return of Kevin Garnett gave Boston the spark it needed to run past the remade Orlando Magic 109-106 Monday night.

The Celtics seemed to lack much intensity in their previous four games, but there was no question KG had returned to the floor in Monday night’s thrilling victory over the Orlando Magic.

On a critical Magic possession with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the C’s holding a three-point lead, Garnett’s rotation on a Jameer Nelson pick led to a game-sealing steal to extend the C’s win streak to three. KG produced 19 points over 31 minutes while adding two steals, two assists, and a team-high eight rebounds. In his first game back, Garnett had a performance reminiscent of what he looks like when he’s healthy. Garnett crashed the boards, looked excellent on rotations, and was money from mid-range.

His game brought an extra level that produces more than statistics though. His all around energy and intensity on the defensive end brought another gear to everyone on the floor with him. Ray Allen was able to find open shots, Rajon Rondo penetrated the lane with ease, and Shaq had a quality outing regardless of being in foul trouble most of the night.

The men in green shot 60 percent from the field on a night where the second unit failed to find a rhythm. Boston’s stifling defense led to 13 turnovers, only allowed 26 points in the paint, and held the Magic to just under 46 percent shooting. Rondo recorded yet another double-double with 10 points and 13 assists, followed by Ray Allen who went 8 of 11 for 26 points over a team-high 39 minutes. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

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