Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Celtics (Part 1)

Ahh….the Celtics. Considered by many to be the best franchise of all time. They had Cousy, Russell, Havlicek, Bird, McHale, Parish, Pierce and more great names. When you see the Celtics, you see a winning tradition (well, unless you missed Bird, then you see a crappy team). There are also 60 series here (aughh!). So keep reading to see them, along with (an attempt at minimal) Celtics bias. (Trying something new here...splitting up the teams into is part 1).

(1) 1973 Boston Celtics (68-14) vs. (60) 1997 Boston Celtics (15-67)

What?!? I thought maybe a Russell or Bird team would be the best of all-time for Boston?? Who are they?!?!?!? Yes. The ’73 Celtics. And no, they did not win a title. Havlicek got injured. There are many people that could be considered “the leader”, but we’ll say it’s the ’73 MVP, Dave Cowens, who had a 21-16-4 year. John Havlicek was also dominant; he put up 24-7-7 in a promising year. Jo Jo White had a 20-5-6, along with a great 13-13 year from defender Paul Silas. Don Nelson and Don Chaney also helped, adding double digit scoring to the mix.

And with every best team, there is a worst. The Celtics were led by Rick Pitino as coach, as they gunned for the hyped Tim Duncan. A 20-year old Antoine Walker led them with 18-9, with David Wesley having 17-4-7 year. Rick Fox, Todd Day, and Eric Williams all added 15 points.

(2) 1986 Boston Celtics (67-15) vs. (59) 2007 Boston Celtics (24-58)

Here is the famous ’86 title team, featuring many players close to or at their peak. You must love the camaraderie of the best of the best, with Larry Bird (26-10-7) leading the way. World class “these-guys-are-supporters?” feature Kevin McHale (21-8-3) and the Panda Express, and the boring-yet-key Robert Parish (16-10-2). This is one of the greatest passing teams of all-time, with bigman Bill Walton leading the bench, at an underrated 8-7-2. Who can forget DJ (16-3-6) and Danny Ainge (11-3-5)? My bet for best C’s team…

Eww…This is ugly. Paul Pierce (47 games of 25-6-4) and Al Jefferson (69 games of 16-11) tell of an ugly, ugly tale. Szczerbiak had 32 games of 15 points, Delonte West had 69, and Tony Allen had 33. There are some future key players in Rondo and Perkins, but they are still young and not near their level today… and they only got 5th pick for this crap year!

(3) 2008 Boston Celtics (66-16) vs. (58) 1979 Boston Celtics (29-53)

One year later, the Celtics don’t suck! That’s right, your 2008 NBA Champions, after they beat LA in 6. Phenomenal team led by the 20-5-5 of Paul Pierce, plus the epic D of KG, and his 19-9-3 year. Ray Allen rounds out the Big 3 with 17-4-3. They were helped by young Point Guard Rajon Rondo, who improved to an 11-4-5. They had a big veteran presence with PJ Brown and Sam Cassell, and had the underrated 7-4-2 from James Poesy.

Ahhh…the year before Bird. Ugly, ugly year. They had Bob McAdoo for the end of the year, putting up 21-7-2, in defiance to Celtics tradition of team. Cedric Maxwell spent the whole year putting up 19-10-3 for Boston, with help from Cowens, 17-10-4, who was nearing the end. Chris Ford put in 16 points. Jo Jo White was traded in this season.

(4) 1960 Boston Celtics (59-16) vs. (57) 1999 Boston Celtics (19-31)

Here is the first Russell era Celtics team, as they beat St. Louis in the Finals. Russell had a great 18-24-4 season that doubled as Chamberlain’s rookie year. Tommy Heinsohn was the leading scorer of this Celtics carnation, having 22-11 this season. Bob Cousy is still going at 31 with a sizzling 19-5-10 season. Sharman (age 33) had 19 points a day this year. Add 15 from Frank Ramsey and 12 from Sam Jones, plus D from Jim Loscuttoff and K.C. Jones, you get a NBA championship.

In the few years Boston was bad, they were terribly awful. Just ugly. And here’s a great example. In the lockout shortened season, Antoine Walker led them with a 19-9-3 year. Ron Mercer put in 17, as did a young Paul Pierce.

(5) 1965 Boston Celtics (62-18) vs. (56) 1994 Boston Celtics (32-50)

This team relied on Russell for D and passing and rebounding, obviously, while his offense slipped to 14 points a night, but he added 24 boards and 5 assists and it didn’t matter. This team’s main offense was from Sam Jones, who put in 26-5-3 a night. A youngish Havlicek put up 19-5-3 to aid them in their Finals win against LA. An aged Tommy Heinsohn put in 14. HOFer Tom Sanders put in 12-8. Second best Russell team by record.

Blah…don’t even want to look at this roster. Dee Brown was the leading scorer (16-4-5), and was helped by Dino Radja (15-7), with Sherman Douglas (13-9) too. A 40 year old Robert Parish put out 12-7, with Kevin Gamble as putting out 12 a night. Terrible team.

(6) 1982 Boston Celtics (63-19) vs. (55) 1978 Boston Celtics (32-50)

This team wasn’t even a Finals team!!! They lost to Philly in the ECF. But they are still 6th. Larry Legend had an incredible 23-11-6 year, which is astounding. It’s surprising this team didn’t get it done (though the Sixers were as phenomenal) with Robert Parish putting in 20-11, and Cedric Maxwell adding 15 points, AND McHale having 14-7. Also here were Tiny Archibald (13-2-8) and 10 points from Gerald Henderson. Great team.

On the flip side, this was the year that earned Boston the Larry Bird pick. It was a floundering team led by the fiery Dave Cowens (19-14-5, which is Russellesque, with era adjustments, except the team sucks), and Hondo is his final year (before I give the numbers, let’s have a moment of silence for Hondo…….he had 16-4-4). Kermit Washington came in a trade for Charlie Scott, who was having a great 16 point year. Dave Bing added 14 points in his twilight years, and Jo Jo White added his veteran presence for only 46 games.

(7) 1985 Boston Celtics (63-19) vs. (54) 2006 Boston Celtics (33-49)

Yet another team that came up short. These guys lost to LA in the Finals, despite the fact that this was Bird’s best season yet. He put up the jaw dropping numbers of 29-11-7, which is an alltime great performance for anyone. McHale and Parish were both elite second fiddle’s, they gave them 20-9, and 18-11 respectively. DJ had a nice year to the tune of 16-4-7, and Ainge had a good year for him of 13-4-5.

Yet another bad Boston team. Amazing how bad they are when the team is in a pothole. There aren’t even many people worthy of mention. Pierce had a great year with 27-7-5 (lot of good that did) with “help” from Delonte West (12-4-5) and to some extent, Al Jefferson (8-5). Ricky Davis, Wally Szczerbiak, and Mark Blount all played 42 or less games….

(8) 1981 Boston Celtics (62-20) vs. (53) 1996 Boston Celtics (33-49)

There’s a title team! Bird had 21-11-6 in his title to match Magic. Parish had 19-10, with Cedric Maxwell adding 15-7. Rookie Kevin McHale makes his debut with a decent 10 point rookie year. A 32-year old Tiny Archibald ran the team while putting up 14-2-8. This team won against Houston in the Finals, who were sub .500.

Dino Radja was the best player on this team by far. Which would generally mean this team is subpar. And it is, as Radja himself only managed in 53 games, averaging 20-10. Rick Fox is next with a 14-6-5 year. They had Todd Day, Dana Barros, and David Wesley also put up double figures among other minor players.

(9) 1984 Boston Celtics (62-20) vs. (52) 1970 Boston Celtics (34-48)

Remember the epic 1984 Finals? 7 games of Lakers vs. Celtics. Here is that awe-inspiring team, built around the 24-10-7 of Larry Bird (how close can you routinely get to a triple-double?), and the post-presence of Kevin McHale (18-7), plus the reliable Robert Parish (19-11-2). But wait…there’s more! DJ is putting in a 13-4-4, Gerald Henderson is putting up 12-2-4, and Cornbread Cedric Maxwell is posting an impressive 12-6-3.

Here is the year right after Russell retired. Hondo was the leader of this team, as with many to come, putting up 24-8-7 at age 29. Don Nelson put in 15-7, and Bailey Howell and Larry Siegfried both added 13 points, as we got our first glimpse at rookie Jo Jo White, who managed 12-3-2 a night. Tom Sanders also added 12 points in a team that is more for the future than now (or then…I feel like I’m talking from 1970, even though I wasn’t alive then….)

(10) 2009 Boston Celtics (62-20) vs. (51) 2000 Boston Celtics (34-47)

Wow…so many top teams that didn’t win it all, weird for Boston. This ’09 Boston team lost to Orlando in the Semis (in 7 games…in their defense, KG was hurt, he could have given them at least one right?). Pierce was the best of them with a 21-6-4 year, good for age 31, and of course Ray Ray, giving 18 points a night. KG managed 16-9-3 in his 57 games, while Rondo keeps on going up, upping his game to 12-5-8, plus 2 steals. Perk gave 9-8. What I don’t like is the additions of Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury (way to add some huge egos to a championship contender). Pretty good team…
…that should have no trouble with this ’00 Celtics team. They are 2 or 3 man team, depending on your feelings of Kenny Anderson. Walker was good, giving 21-8-4, which is pretty good in my books. Pierce was his main aid, who fit it well; he gave 20-5-3. Kenny Anderson dazzled for 14-3-5, being one of three who played over 30 minutes a night (Adrian Griffin had 27, and he only got 7-5-3…way to distribute your minutes). Well, this team is easy to beat.

Post 2 Coming soon....

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