Celtics

Celtics vs. Lakers rivalry: Highlights from five of Boston's epic NBA Finals wins

Celtics

Boston Celtics fans are in for a treat Friday night.

NBC Sports Boston will show Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals when the Celtics beat the Celtics in a 39-point rout at TD Garden for the franchise's 17th championship. The game will begin at 7 p.m. ET and will feature some commentary from Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine.

In the spirit of Friday night's showing of a classic Celtics-Lakers game, let's take a look at five of Boston's greatest NBA Finals matchups versus Los Angeles.

1. 1984 NBA Finals Game 7
Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.

Celtics vs. Lakers.

Game 7 at the old Boston Garden

What could be better than that?

The Celtics won their 15th championship with a 111-102 win over the Lakers. Three Boston starters scored 20-plus points, including Bird (20), Cedric Maxwell (24) and Dennis Johnson (22). Robert Parish chipped in 14 points and 16 rebounds. The triumph was especially sweet for Bird, who had lost to Magic Johnson's Michigan State in the 1979 NCAA national championship game.

2. 2008 NBA Finals Game 4
The Celtics pulled off the greatest comeback in an NBA Finals Game by erasing a 24-point, first-half deficit to earn a 97-91 victory and a commanding 3-1 series lead. Boston ended the third quarter on a 21-3 run.

One of the unsung heroes of this game was Celtics forward James Posey, who scored 18 points off the bench and hit a couple of huge 3-point shots. One of those 3's came with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter and the C's trailing 81-77, and another gave Boston a 92-87 lead with 1:13 remaining in regulation.

 

Celtics guard Ray Allen also came up clutch with a game-clinching drive and score in the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter. He played the entire game, too.

3. 1969 NBA Finals Game 7
Bill Russell's final game was a special one. The Lakers were heavy favorites entering this series, and again in Game 7. L.A. had acquired Hall of Fame center Wilt Chamberlain before the season and were expected to dominate the old Celtics. The Lakers were so confident of a Game 7 victory that team owner Jack Kent Cooke put a piece of paper in all of the seats that let fans know which songs and interviews would take place after L.A. won. There even were a bunch of balloons ready to drop from the rafters. Well, Russell read this notice to the team before the game, and it definitely inspired the group. The Celtics were outscored 30-17 in the fourth quarter but emerged with a 108-106 win led by John Havlicek (26 points) and Sam Jones (24 points). The championship was Boston's 11th in 13 years.

4. 1984 NBA Finals Game 4
This game is best remembered for C's forward Kevin McHale clotheslining Lakers forward Kurt Rambis, which helped spark a fantastic second-half rally by Boston. The Celtics erased a 10-point halftime deficit and forced overtime, where Bird's clutch shot over Magic Johnson and M.L. Carr's steal at the buzzer sealed a 129-125 win at the Great Western Forum. Los Angeles squandered a great opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead.

5. 1962 NBA Finals Game 7
The Celtics won their fifth championship with a thrilling 110-107 Game 7 victory over Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and the Lakers at the old Boston Garden. Russell, who won his third league MVP that season, led the way for Boston with 30 points and 40 rebounds. Yes, you read that right -- 40 rebounds! This series also was the NBA Finals matchup between these teams since the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles beginning with the 1960-61 season.

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