Celtics

Gil Santos had connection to Celtics, in addition to Patriots

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Gil Santos had connection to Celtics, in addition to Patriots

MILWAUKEE -- When most fans of New England pro teams think of Gil Santos, they immediately associate him as the longtime voice of the New England Patriots.

But once upon a time, many years ago, Santos -- who passed away Thursday on his 80th birthday -- was the television voice of the Boston Celtics. His broadcast partner was the legendary Bob Cousy through most of the 1980s.

MORE ON SANTOS

"Gil was the consummate professional," Cousy told NBC Sports Boston. "I worked with a lot of play-by-play men who went on to National success, but Gil, to me, was by far the most prepared. He did it by the book, not a lot of editorializing. I appreciated that he often let the pictures do the talking . . . that's something he really believed in."

Cousy added: "I thought he had the best voice of all the play-by-play men. I had great respect for him as a play-by-play man because I always knew he was well prepared. I also enjoyed his company. He was a great dinner companion because he was a great story teller . . . and he loved good food. Gil would always handle the dinner arrangements and to me that was another big plus. He was the best at finding the best restaurants."

Santos' impact went beyond the airwaves.

He was a man who changed lives, something the current TV voice of the Boston Celtics can attest to.

Mike Gorman recalls his first encounter with Santos, in 1975.

"I was just out of the Navy and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life," Gorman told NBC Sports Boston. "At one point when I was getting out of the Navy, I decided I wanted to be a sportscaster but I had no credentials for it and no experience in it. That was fortunate for me because ignorance was bliss."

After sending out resumes, Gorman realized his dream job wasn't going to come about that route.

"So I walked up to WBZ to speak to Gil Santos," Gorman said. "Gil was nice enough to come out and see who I was."

The two talked, shared a couple Cokes, played a softball game and before you know it, Santos was on the phone with a friend of a radio station in New Bedford, Mass., which would soon become Gorman's first on-air job.

And that was the catalyst for what has been a Hall of Fame-worthy career for Gorman, whose broadcasting career has been influenced by many.

But the impact of Santos on his career, is immeasurable.

Gorman said he would probably be a teacher and a would-be basketball coach right now if it wasn't for Santos.

"I was pretty much at the end of the line trying to get into broadcasting," Gorman said. "If Gil had been discouraging or said you need to go to broadcasting school or something like that, I would have said, ‘Thanks' and gone back to being a teacher, which is what I was trained to be in college."

Gorman added: "He opened the door for me. If he doesn't open the door for me, I'm 90 percent sure I would be in some other business not doing what I'm doing now."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Who doesn't love an old-fashioned rivalry game?

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet for the second time this season Thursday night, this time at TD Garden, where Al Horford spent three seasons in green and white.

Horford's new club put a whupping on the Celtics in their season opener, but the C's are 10-0 at home this season and will be out for revenge against their Atlantic Division foe.

Does Boston have enough firepower to set the record straight Thursday night? ... We're not so sure.

Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total picks for Celtics-Sixers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 8 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Philly and its size are just a tough matchup for the Celtics, especially if two of Boston's better defenders (Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward) can't play. I'll take the action on the Sixers (+105).

Point Spread: The Sixers are coming off quality wins over the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets and are the only team that's really handled Boston this season. The Celtics have to lose at home at some point, and I think the Sixers (+1.5) do the honors.

Point Total: Both Philly and Boston have favored the under recently, but the Celtics' home juice should keep this game close throughout and get both teams over the century mark. I'm rolling with the OVER on the 210 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 32-24-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Dallas Mavericks (-5.5) at Detroit Pistons: The Mavs are 8-2 against the spread on the road this season. That's all the evidence I need to take Luka Doncic and Co. over a "meh" Pistons team.

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets (-6): The Nuggets are back from an East Coast road trip to play a mediocre Blazers squad that's lost three of its last five. Denver rides the comforts of home to a comfortable victory.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 21-15-1

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet Thursday night for the first time since opening night and they have the added drama of Al Horford, who spent three years with the Celtics, returning to the Hub in an enemy uniform.

The two rivals again are vying for supremacy in the NBA's Eastern Conference, with the Celtics owning the third spot in the East at 17-6 and the Sixers currently fourth at 18-7. The C's will be out to avenge their opening night loss in Philly, which was the last time they saw old friend Horford, who makes his return to Boston after leaving as a free agent to join the longtime rivals in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Horford's departure was not without a little controversy. He spent three seasons with the Celtics, then declined his $30 million option for 2019-20 to become a free agent, but was expected to re-sign with Boston, only to take the more lucrative four-year, $109 million deal from Philly that he was rumored to have secured before the official start of free agency July 1. 

It will be interesting to see the reception the big man gets in his TD Garden return.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 8 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app. 

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.