Tommy Heinsohn

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Thirty-one years ago today, the old Boston Garden was the site of one of the great superstar duels the NBA has ever seen.

Larry Bird vs. Dominque Wilkins. Celtics vs. Hawks. Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7.

On a Sunday afternoon, in the first of a Garden playoff doubleheader (the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers would play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final later that night), the two Hall of Famers staged a one-on-one battle to remember.

Bird and the Celtics came out on top, 118-116. Wilkins finished with 47 points - 12 in the fourth quarter - on 19-for-33 shooting. Bird had 20 of his 34 points in the fourth and was 15-for-24 for the game. And, in an ode to how different a game the NBA was then - each player only hit one 3-pointer. 

Tommy Heinsohn was the CBS analyst for the game with Brent Musburger doing the play-by-play. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers was in Atlanta's backcourt. Heinsohn and Rivers looked back at the game with the voice of the Celtics.

Heinsohn: "Once it started to happen, you just saw the desire of both these players." 

Rivers: "The crowd here was amazing. I gotta tell you, I fell in love with the Celtic crowd in this game."

The Celtics would go on to lose to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this game provided a lasting memory from that postseason.

Perhaps Musburger put it best after another late Bird drive and finish: "You are watching what greatness is all about."

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The Blazers-Nuggets 4-OT thriller has a Celtics connection, of course

The Blazers-Nuggets 4-OT thriller has a Celtics connection, of course

The last four-overtime playoff game in the NBA before the Friday-night-into-Saturday-morning thriller in Portland won by the Trail Blazers 140-137 over the Denver Nuggets?

It was won by the Celtics (of course) 66 years ago.

The C's beat the Syracuse Nationals (the forerunners of the Philadelphia 76ers), 111-105 behind 50 points (in 66 minutes) from Hall of Famer Bob Cousy in the only other four-OT NBA playoff game to give Boston a 2-0 best-of-three-series sweep in 1953. Alas, Boston would go on to lose to the Knicks in four games in a best-of-five Eastern Conference Finals. 

It was so long ago that...

  • The Celtics had won zero of their 17 NBA titles. They were four years away from their first.
  • And Red Auerbach, in his third season with the Celtics, had zero of the nine NBA titles he would win as a coach.
  • Eventual Celtics legends and Hall of Famers Tommy Heinsohn (Holy Cross) and Bill Russell (University of San Francisco) would begin their COLLEGE basketball careers that fall.
  • There was no 24-second shot clock. That would come the following season.
  • The three-point shot was a mere 26 years away. It was added in 1979. 
  • The NBA had 10 teams, with only two - the Celtics and the Knicks - still in their original cities today.

The Knicks would go on to lose in the Finals to Hall of Famer George Mikan's Minneapolis Lakers in a nightmare matchup for Celtics fans. 

The other champs in 1953?

NFL: (14 years before the first Super Bowl) The Detroit Lions over the Cleveland Browns, 17-16.
NHL: Those darn Canadiens beat the Bruins in five games in the Stanley Cup Finals
MLB: Those [fill-in the blank] Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in six games. 

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Breakfast Pod: Celtics fall to the Bucks in Game 3, 123-116

Breakfast Pod: Celtics fall to the Bucks in Game 3, 123-116

A disappointing return home for the C's Friday night; will the B's fare better at the Garden Saturday?

1:00 - Celtics fall to the Bucks in Game 3 and trail in the series, 2-1; Kyle Draper, Brian Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman break down the loss. 

8:30 - Bruins face the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday night. Joe Haggerty and Mike Felger break down the Game 4 win and preview tonight's matchup.

14:45 - Our Early Edition crew discusses Tom Brady's comments to Jimmy Kimmel regarding his contract, and debate whether Brady will get a new deal before the season

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