Here's part two of the Boston Celtics....
(11) 1962 Boston Celtics (60-20) vs. (50) 1995 Boston Celtics (35-47)
Here is a wonderful Russell era team. It has Russell going full steam ahead with jaw dropping averages of 19-24-5, and has Tommy Heinsohn putting up 22-10-2. Cousy is one of the top points in the league, even at 33, and he shows it with 16-4-8 numbers. Sam Jones is showing his true skills, as he adds the pivotal 18-6-3 to Boston, helped out by a 15 point bench explosion by Frank Ramsey. Loaded, loaded team.
Hey! This is a playoff team!!! You know your franchise is good when your 50th team can make the postseason…though the league wasn’t great without Jordan, and a team led by a 35 year old Dominique Wilkins could thrive (that’s right, 35, and he’s putting up 18-5 a night), though not much, as he’s matched by Dino Radja (17-9). Dee Brown was a helper, he added 16-3-4 to the mix, along with 15 from Sherman Douglas.
(12) 1980 Boston Celtics (61-21) vs. (49) 2004 Boston Celtics (36-46)
How can all these non-champs be so high!?! The ’80 Celtics lost to Philadelphia in the ECF. This is a loaded (maybe too much so) team. Just look at this! 21-10-5 from (ROOKIE) Larry Bird, Cedric Maxwell had 17-9, 14-8 from Dave Cowens (in his last Celtic year), 14-3-8 from Tiny Archibald, Rick Robey, ML Carr, and Chris Ford all had 11 points. Like I said, loaded.
Crapload of trades here. Pierce, of course, remained constant, with cool 23-7-5 averages. Ricky Davis came in for the end of the ride, bringing 14-4-3 to the table. Mark Blount gave double figures to Boston, as many others (including Mike James, who had been having an 11 point season) were traded in either the Ricky Davis deal with the Cavs, or the multiple team trade that gave Detroit Rasheed. Crazy year.
(13) 1967 Boston Celtics (60-21) vs. (48) 2001 Boston Celtics (36-46)
’67 was the first year of Russell’s coaching gig, where they lost to the eventual champion Sixers. This year they had 3, count ‘em, 3, 20 point scorers, in Havlicek (21-7-3), Sam Jones (22-5-3) and Bailey Howell (20-8). Russell was still there though, chugging out 13-21-6 along with an impressive coaching record. Larry Siegfried gave 14 points, and Tom Sanders gave them 10-5, plus his D. K.C. Jones is still going at 34, though slowed, he put up 6-3-5.
This would be a really good team…if they had some help other than the impressive Paul Pierce (25-6-4) and a great year from Antoine Walker (23-9-6, 6 assists??). Next in scoring is Bryant Stith (10-4) and Kenny Anderson (8-2-4) and Vitaly Potapenko (8-6). Not much help at all…
(14) 1964 Boston Celtics (59-21) vs. (47) 1998 Boston Celtics (36-46)
The torch is beginning to be passed to Sam Jones and John Havlicek, who had great years of 19-5-3 and 20-5-3 respectively. Of course, that is the offensive torch; Russell is as dominant as ever, he is now looking at 15-25-5 a night. Heinsohn is going down a little; he’s now at 17-6 for this championship year. Tom Sanders still looks great, he has an 11-8 average, and when you add in 10 and 9 points from Willie Naulls and Frank Ramsey, you have a champ!
Welcome to the season that earned the Celtics Paul Pierce. They already had their star in Antoine Walker, who laid in 22-10-3 a night. Ron Mercer gave 15 points a night, while we get introduced to Kenny Anderson, who was traded to Boston (why the %&$@ did Rick Pitino have to trade Chauncey Billups in this trade! WHY?!?) and gave them 16 games of 11-2-6. Dana Barros and Walter McCarty both gave 10 a night.
(15) 1975 Boston Celtics (60-22) vs. (46) 1955 Boston Celtics (36-36)
So many non-champs up at the top! This one was a good one though (despite the loss to Washington in the ECF), with their own big three leading the way: Dave Cowens hustled for 20-15-5 (how close to Russell can you get? He’s a better scorer, and not a good rebounder, and a slightly worse passer.), and the immortal Hondo going in for 19-6-5, plus Jo Jo White rounding off the epic Big 3 with 18-4-6. Don Nelson also gave 14 points, and Paul Silas gave his all-important defense. Also on the team was a young Paul Westphal, later to be traded and will be met again in the ’76 Finals.
Here’s our first view of the pre-Russell Celtics that stared alpha-dog Bob Cousy, who gave the Celtics 21-6-8, leading them to .500 (the 46th best Celtics team is .500…impressive). Bill Sharman was also a star in the 50s, this season being one to the tune of 18-4-4. Ed Macauley had 18-9-4 (also Russellish, remember assists were harder in this era…), and rookie Frank Ramsey made his impression of 11-6-3. Boston also had Don Barksdale and Jack Nichols giving about 10 a game.
(16) 1963 Boston Celtics (58-22) vs. (45) 1989 Boston Celtics (42-40)
Time to say goodbye to Bob Cousy, this is his last season (well, until that ill-advised comeback with the Royals), and he managed 13-3-7 (hey, he’s 34, which was older than it is now…), but with that goodbye was a hello, to John Havlicek, who had 14-7-2 to debut. Sam Jones took the majority of the scoring (by a little) with 20-5-3, helped by Tommy Heinsohn (19-8). And who can forget Russell? He had a great 17-24-5 season. Frank Ramsey and Tom Sanders both gave 11 points, along with Sanders and K.C. Jones’s D, this Boston team was the NBA champs.
Sad, sad season, we saw the legendary team slip. Larry Bird played only six games before he found bone spurs and later had back problems (a sad trend to see, but it was OK because we still had Magic going strong). Kevin McHale was the leader with Bird out, he had a 23-8 year. Robert Parish was consistently going on, now doing a 19-13 season. Reggie Lewis came into year 2 ready to be 4th on the team, but he stepped up to 3rd with a 19 point year. DJ is 34 and falling, now only 10-3-7 for averages. Ainge was traded.
(17) 1959 Boston Celtics (52-20) vs. (44) 2003 Boston Celtics (44-38)
Here is a great championship team (get out the brooms, they swept the Lakers!) and they feature 2 twenty point scorers in Bill Sharman (21-4-3) and Bob Cousy (20-6-9). Bill Russell is only 24 and spectacular even at a young age, putting up 17-23-3. Tommy Heinsohn had a great 19-10-3 year, while Sam Jones has an important 11-6 statline. Frank Ramsey provided scoring off the bench, as he put in 15-7-2. Jim Loscuttoff had a mix of defense and 8-7 stats.
Another two man team in the ’03 Celtics. Pierce was spectacular with 26-7-4 and Walker was good with 20-7-5, but the talent on the team really drops off with Tony Delk (10-4-2), Eric Williams (9-5-2) and rookie J.R. Bremer (8-2-3). No chance against this ’59 championship team.
(18) 1961 Boston Celtics (57-22) vs. (43) 1977 Boston Celtics (44-38)
Yet another stacked 60s champ, this time with Russell doing a 17-24-3 night’s worth of damage. Heinsohn was this versions leading scorer, he had a 21-10-2 season, and was helped by an aged Cousy’s contribution of 18-4-8, plus a 34 year-old Bill Sharman, who had 16 points a night in his last season in the NBA. Frank Ramsey and Sam Jones both put up 15 points a night.
’77 was the year after their championship, and the merger, and the Celtics found they couldn’t keep up as well as before. Jo Jo White was really good this year though; he had 20-5-6 this season. Charlie Scott may have only played 43 games, but he had 18-4-5 in them. Hondo was pretty good also; 18-5-5 was how well he was this year. Cowens played only 50 games, but was amazing in them as he put in 16-14-5. Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe (bad attitudes) put in 15 and 10 respectively.
(19) 1987 Boston Celtics (59-23) vs. (42) 1971 Boston Celtics (44-38)
Welcome to the fall of the Celtics. Sure, Larry Bird was amazing (28-9-8) and so was McHale (26-10), but they couldn’t get anything from the bench (6 points a game, anyone? By your best bench player?). Walton’s feet were messed up after his luck the previous year. Parish is still going very strong, at 18-11 a game, as is DJ, who had 13-3-8, and Ainge is improving (15-3-6), but you need some type of bench.
The first year of the Big 3 (70s edition), with Havlicek (30 years old) leading the charge (29-9-8, speechless...) along with year 2 of Jo Jo (21-5-5) and rookie Dave Cowens (17-15-3, what a debut!!). Don Nelson was big, going up (as far as his pot belly could) for 14-7, plus double digit scoring from Don Chaney. Yet no playoffs….
(20) 1988 Boston Celtics (57-25) vs. (41) 1956 Boston Celtics (39-33)
While Bird still put on a show (30-9-6), they were still hampered by their crappy bench (though we can give thanks for the epic 7 game series against Atlanta). McHale is still good (23-8-3), and Parish is consistently there (14-9), and there is more improvement in Ainge (16-3-6), and DJ is still going (13-3-8). There next top scorer (that played more than 30 games) is Fred Roberts (6.1 PPG). Good starters, horrible bench.
Welcome the year before Russell (this year is ahead of his rookie year, but he did miss most of it, he was in Australia for the Olympics.). Cousy was the best on this team, thriving with 19-7-9 a game, with Sharman taking second and the scoring load (20-4-5), while they relied on Ed Macauley (18-6-3) for big man duties, though Jack Nichols was a better rebounder (14-10-3). Jim Loscuttoff was pivotal with his 8-9 average.
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Part 3 later today or tomorrow.
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