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The Most Painful Loss in C’s History?

 

As I was jogging in Central Park on Saturday, I thought to myself: The Game 7 loss to LA was probably the most painful C’s loss of my lifetime. The next thought: Is it the most painful loss in Celtics history?

That’s not a ridiculous question. We’re talking about a Game 7 NBA Finals loss to the team’s arch rival, a loss that might have represented the last, best chance at a title for an aging Celtics core we have grown to love.

But the most painful ever? What are the other candidates?

1982 Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals, versus Philadelphia. The Celtics, the defending champs, had won Game 5 at home and Game 6 in Philly to rally from a 3-1 deficit and tie the series. People greeted the team at the airport when they flew home between Game 6 and Game 7; everybody expected them to win at home.

But Andrew Toney went crazy, Bird went scoreless in the 4th quarter and the C’s lost by 14. The only plus: This was the berth of the “Beat LA” chant.

Game 4 of the 1987 Finals versus Los Angeles. An all-time great NBA game, and an all-time historic finish. Bird put the Celtics up by two with a monster three-pointer with 12 seconds left, but the Lakers went to Kareem in the post, and he drew a foul.

You know the rest. Kareem made the first and missed the second, but the C’s couldn’t control the rebound, and the ball went out of bounds. Magic hit the Junior Hook, Bird barely missed at the buzzer and LA had a 3-1 lead.

1985 NBA Finals, Game 6 against Los Angeles. The Lakers clinch the title in Boston as K.C. Jones essentially refuses to play the bench and the C’s wear down in the second half. Kevin McHale would say later that the Celtics had the better team in ’85 and should have won (via Basketbawful):

“We had a better team than they did that year. Max got hurt and everything, but they came to the Garden not thinking they could be us in that sixth game, no way. We had played like crap. We shot the ball poorly. If we had played well that sixth game, I’m not sure they’d have showed up for the seventh game. They were a great team and all, but they did not believe at that point that they could beat us. That was a turning point for them.”

We’ll never know if McHale was right, but a Game 7 sure would have been fun.

Additional sort of important detail: This was the first time in NBA history the Lakers beat the Celtics in the Finals.

Game 7, 1973 Eastern Conference Finals versus New York. People forget how good the 1973 Celtics were.  They went 68-14, outscored their opponents by 8.2 points per game (a monster margin) and had the following players in their primes: Dave Cowens, Don Chaney (an elite defensive stopper), Paul Silas, Jo Jo White. John Havlicek was still just 32 and tossed up a 24-7-6 average on 45 percent shooting.

This was a monster team.

The Knicks had the same core from their 1970 championship club, plus Jerry Lucas and Earl Monroe. So this series was a a true clash of historic teams. And then Havlicek ran into a Dave DeBusschere pick and injured his right (shooting shoulder) in Game 3.

The C’s were down 2-1 going into Game 4 in New York and lost in double overtime after some controversial calls, including a sixth foul against Cowens.

But the team rallied to win Game 5 at home and Game 6 at MSG to force Game 7 in Boston.

The Knicks won going away, as Hondo could barely lift his shooting arm. He played most the game left-handed and took just six shots, making one.

The Knicks went on to beat an aging Laker team (five of six LA’s leading scorers were 29 or older) 4-1 in the Finals.

1958, NBA Finals, Game 6 versus St. Louis Hawks.

For its 60th anniversary, the NBA ranked the 60 best playoff moments in its history, and this game came 9th. The Hawks-C’s rivalry was arguably the most contentious of the early NBA. The teams met in the Finals four times in five seasons from 1957 through 1961, with Boston winning three of the four series. Red Auerbach hated Ben Kerner, the Hawks’ owner, dating to Auerbach’s brief tenure as the head coach of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (the predecessor team to the Hawks) in 1950. Auerbach quit in part because of personnel disagreements with Kerner, and in one famous incident during a Hawks-C’s Finals years later, Auerbach went into the stands and clocked Kerner in the jaw after accusing Kerner of monkeying with the basket heights in St. Louis. (Yes, Red could be paranoid and angry).

In any case, Bob Pettit scored 50 points in one of the league’s all-time great clutch performances to help the Hawks hold off Boston, 110-109, after a furious C’s rally cut a double-digit Hawks lead to one several times in the 4th quarter. Bill Russell suffered a severely sprained ankle in Game 3 of this series, and Boston got little from him after that.

Really, these strike me as the only legit candidates for most painful single-game loss in C’s history. Am I missing one?

As for which is the most painful? If I were five years older (I’m 32), I’m positive the ’87 Game 4 loss would trump this year’s loss. The nature of the loss—a last-second shot from Magic, a last-second miss from Bird—and the status of that series as a rubber match of sorts between LA and Boston puts it at a pain level above this year’s Game 7 loss.

But I was 10 when that happened, and while I remember it, what I mostly remember is my Dad screaming in terror, “DO NOT LET MAGIC TOUCH THE BALL!” just before the Junior Hook. It hurt, but I wasn’t yet old enough to understand its significance.

  • Eugene

    I am 27 years old, and I have always thought that I truly hated the Lakers. The only problem was, I had never been crushed by the Lakers. I was too young to remember their battles in the 80′s, so my only real Celtics/Lakers experience was 2008, which was amazing. After the 2010 Finals, I can say now with 100% certainty that I HATE the Lakers with a passion that I didnt know existed before.

    That is, for me, the silver lining to this loss. I now truly understand how much I despise the yellow and purple, and I feel as if it will make any more C’s/Lakers finals that much more enjoyable for me.

    Lets hope for a rubber match in 2011.

  • yuckabuck

    I’m 6 years older and I remember the pain of the game 4 loss. But this year’s game 7 loss was worse. 1987 was an incredible run, but starting from game 1 of the Finals, you could tell the C’s were too injured to get the job done against LA. Mchale and Parish had given it all against Detroit and were limping bad. I wanted to see that game 4 turn out right, but I knew they were not winning the series.

    This year was also an incredible run, but going into the fourth quarter of game 7, you still thought there was a good chance to walk out with a win. Plus, the way the whistles changed in the fourth quarter leaves a real bitter taste. I don’t know who would have won if the game had been called the same way in the fourth as the rest of the game, but it was obvious who wasn’t going to win with a game called that tight. In ’87, there was nobody calling the Celtics champions without a ring (except maybe fans) like Kelly Dwyer did for this year’s team.

  • Shammy

    For me being a kid in the 80s, 82 against the Sixers and 85 against the Lakers have been the most painful.
    Since 85 though I think some of the most painful moments of being a Celtic fan have been off the court. With the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis.
    I also was somewhat devestated with the lottery results in 1997 and 2007. I really thought both times we would win.
    This years loss was tough especially against the Lakers. And I think this may be the last great shot for a few years as salary cap and age is going to hinder the Celtics.

  • Nowayout

    For me, this was the most painful..Especially the way the game played, I thought we’ll get it..until the very end…Keeping high hopes and hitting rock bottom was soul crushing. I still don’t watch Sportscenter, ESPN, NBA TV etc…Hope that draft night will be my way back

  • alvaro

    Hi been reading for a long time, love the site. First Post.

    This is the most painful loss ever to me Im 25 from Panama became a fan in 92 (my cousins were bulls and lakers fan, so i chose the other team with a faous player)

    Before this though it was Game 5 of the 2002 ECFs for me, with PP missing the game tying FTs after the huge game 4 comeback. I remember thinking we were going to the finals. It was the first time I ever saw the Celtics in the playoffs (i followed in 95 through the ticker in Headline News and Highlights. Before that I just remember watching the mourning buzzer beater in highlights). After that comeback I was sure we were going to the finals (where we were gonna get crushed) just to see that FT miss and have Kidd mouth to the crowd “2-2 mothereffers”

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    Laker fan since 1959….The 60′s were gruelling. The team could never get over against #6.

    They lost 7 times to the Celtics in every conceivable way a team can find to lose a series.

    Injuries, blown calls, chokes, at home or on the road, didn’t matter the Lakers found a way to lose every series and the Celtics were always arrogant about it.

    Like it was an entitlement brought to them by the basketball gods each Spring.

    After that decade I’ve always said the world would never be a fair place unless the Lakers were permitted to ruin a few celebratory parties at the Celtic’s expense.

    How sweet it is!

  • Stevo

    I don’t know? Worst loss ever? Wouldn’t that be game 6 where our guys just didn’t show up and got stomped on? Or game 1 where our guys again didn’t show up and got stomped on? Or game 3, where Derek Fisher – the worst starting PG in the NBA, destroyed us with a 1-2, pick and roll? All the game losses were heartbreakers, because our guys did not show up every night in the finals. Game 7 was a culmination of that – we showed up on D, but forgot how to play any semblance of offense in Boston.

  • Stevo

    I meant to say, left our ability to play any semblance of offense in Boston.

  • David

    Game 4 1987 hurts the most for me because that was the series turning point during the final real shot at a championship for the famed old guard of Bird, McHale, Parish, Ainge and DJ, who played heroically in the Finals in spite of McHale’s fractured foot and the tragic loss of Len Bias prior to the season…

  • stephen

    Been a C’s fan for the last 30+ years and I live on the West Coast. This one ranks up there with the absolute worst because of the way we lost it. I’m still not convinced that the Lakers are the better team. Considering who we had to beat to get there as opposed to the creampuffs the Lakers played makes it even more upsetting.I think the Celtics had absolutley nothing left in the tank from midway 4th quarter. The Lakers were clearly fresher based on the fact they played Nobody along the way. Kind of the same situation as the 80′s when the Lakers were never seriously challenged to get out of the West. Seems pretty damned unfair!!!!

  • Ray

    I have to second yuckabuck; I knew we weren’t winning in ’87.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @stephen…..What makes you think beating two franchises (Cleveland and Orlando) who’ve never won a championship or much else, is so much more difficult than beating a Phoenix or a Utah in a long series?

    You mean because they had oustanding regular seasons? How many times have the Suns or the Jazz had outstanding regular seasons just to be eliminated by the Lakers in the playoffs? Lots!

    Once you get passed Howard and James where is the star power on the Magic or the Cavaliers?

    After those guys, their best players don’t compare to the caliber of guys on the Celtics or the Lakers.

    That’s why those series weren’t really all that close.

  • stephen

    @Dave—Anyone who believes beating Utah and Phoenix is even close to beating Cleveland and Orlando does not know the game. Utah never wins on the road in the playoffs and Phoenix could’nt defend against my sister and her friends. Phoenix and their lack of defense is a constant–year in and year out. The Celtics lost the title,the Lakers didn’t win it. 32% shooting for a winning team in a game 7 has to rank as one of the worst performances of all time. I am on the West Coast and have yet to hear one Laker fan gloating over how they won this year. They all understand how fortunate the Lakers are and that’s not even debateable.

  • http://thenullhypodermic.blogspot.com/ Brian Tung

    @stephen: If the Celtics had pulled it out, I doubt they’d be talking about their amazing offense, either. There’s been plenty of talk on Lakers forums about their defense (if your team lost, you call it gloating; if they won, you call it celebrating), and I’m pretty sure if the Celtics had won Game 7, it would have been much the same on the Boston side. It was a defensive struggle.

    That being said, I do agree the Lakers had an easier road to the Finals. Does not matter, in my opinion. Same sort of thing happened in 2008, and the Celtics won that Finals series. Does it somehow make it easier for Boston fans to swallow if they convince themselves the Celtics lost to a puffier team? The Celtics lost to a Lakers team that was strong defensively and had been for most of the season and playoffs. Believing that the loss was all on the Celtics, and that the Lakers had nothing to do with it, is a basketball error on par with thinking Orlando is a regular-season powerhouse and a post-season creampuff.

  • boston sucks

    @stephanie , the east is weak as hell. boston wouldve lost to phx and the thunder. cleveland was the most overrated team w the most overrated player, orlando was weak, and wade ho no help in miami. youre lucky the celtics even made it to a game 7. LA shouldve ended that series in 5! it was obvious how much better they when from the 1st tip off moron!

  • stephen

    @ Brian–Good points—-Your right–If the Celtics had pulled it out I certainly wouldn’t point to their offense–Ever—–And your correct in your statement that the Celtics “”WON”" the title outright in 2008–In convincing fashion-I believe it was a 39 0r 40 point blowout–Big difference between that and a 4 point victory by the Lakers.The point is the Celtics played very well in the 2008 closeout game, while the Lakers did not in this year’s close out game. I call it the way it is–pure and simple—The Celtics choked—-

  • BlackMamba24

    It feels so great to beat punk Celtics fans that talk as much trash as their team does. Even better we beat them at their own game, game 7 was all Celtic basketball & we still won! Paul Pierce’s not the truth… the TRUTH got 5 rings on!!

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @stephen…You’re missing the point. For years fans who’s teams are based in the Eastern Conferences have been saying the same thing.

    But every series in the post season is a different series and deriving anything out of comparing opponents is fruitless.

    The Lakers would have blown Orlando off the floor just as easily as Boston did and they proved as much in the finals last year when Orlando was arguably a better team than this year with Hedo as opposed to Vinsanity.

    The Lakers would have had a little more of a struggle against Cleveland, but the result would have been pretty much the same.

    Both the Lakers and the Celtics were off for a week prior to the start of the finals so fatigue was no factor at all.

    Especially considering the fact that neither the Lakers or the Celtics were even extended to seven games by any of their prior opponents in the series preceding the finals.

    If there’s any merit to your argument at all, it would be that the Celtics were more battle tested due to the strength of her opponents and therefore possibly more prepared for an excruciating series in the finals as compared to the Lakers but that’s now how it turned it out.

    Heck, let’s be honest. Boston could have and should have swept Orlando four straight and they should’ve beaten Cleveland in 5 games!

    If that had happened (and it should have) would you still be arguing that those teams were Eastern Conference juggernauts?

    Give me a break!

  • James Patrick

    I felt like the only difference in 1987 was home court advantage. but i really hurt. damn baby skyhook. but i never hated magic like i hate kobe. magic was never teh arrogant bastid koby bryant is. aughhh!!!!

    I’m seriously tired of this 2-3-2 it’s such a disadvantage to the team with 3 games. if 2010 had been 2-2-1-1-1, i think we would’ve pulled it out.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @stephen…It’s not choking when a team loses a seventh game in the finals on the road.

    Historically speaking, the Celtics had very little chance of pulling it off.

    Anyone who believes that losing in that situation is choking “does not know the game”.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    2-3-2 is actually designed to give the team without home court advantage a much better shot.

    In a 2-2-1-1-1 the home team merely has to hold serve in order to stay no worse then even and usually ahead throughout the entire series.

    Psychologically that’s a tremendous advantage for the home court team so long as they hold serve. Because they’ll never feel the pressure of being behind in the series.

    Whereas in the 2-3-2 format, even if the team with home court advantage holds it’s serve successfully, they will still fall behind if the road team wins the middle three games at home.

    It’s a much fairer framework to use when you have the two best teams at the end of the year facing each other
    for the championship.

    By the way, the Celtics were in great shape as far as that goes. Nothing to complain about at all!

    They held a 3-2 advantage with two to play and they were the first to win two in a row. They had all the momentum coming back to LA for game six.

    Talk about being in the driver’s seat, if you would have offered that to Doc Rivers before the series started he would have taken it in a heartbeat!

  • dslack

    @Dave I agree with you on 2-3-2 vs. 2-2-1-1-1, but good luck getting anyone else to agree. The jury has voted and the verdict is in: 2-3-2 is worse for the 3 team than 2-2-1-1-1.

  • stephen

    @ Dave–Exactly!! The Celtics did have the momentum and they “Choked”–A perfect example—-The Lakers “Choked” game 7 of the 1984 finals when they controlled almost the entire 2nd half and then down the stretch James Worthy threw a cross court pass that got stolen by Gerald Henderson and Magic Johnson blew his last 3 0r 4 freethrows. What in the hell do you mean saying a team choking means they don’t know the game. Choking happens my friend, and I am admitting that the Lakers choked game 7 of the 84 finals. The Boston Red Sox didn’t choke the 1986 World Series against the Mets? The 2004 Yankees didn’t choke a 3-0 lead to the Red Sox? Shall I keep going. Get real man!!!

  • Marc R

    As a Knicks fan, I’m crushed that nobody mentioned the first round loss to the Knicks in 1990. The Celtics were up 2-0 in that series. Probably the greatest moment of my life was when Bird missed the dunk in Game 5.

  • http://thenullhypodermic.blogspot.com/ Brian Tung

    @stephen: It takes two to tango. The Celtics lost. The Lakers won. Those don’t happen separately, they happen together. The notion that you’re clinging to, that the Lakers didn’t do what was necessary to win the game, is looking at only one half of the game. I suppose you think that if the Lakers just rolled over on defense the Celtics would still have lost? I’m sure you don’t think the Celtics offense is that inept. I certainly don’t.

    But if it honestly feels better to continue in your misapprehension that the Celtics somehow lost this game to nobody in particular, please go on ahead. Most Celtics fans I know haven’t gone down that route.

  • stephen

    @ Brian–Name the only 2 players to lead the league in both scoring and assists in the same season and who did they play for?

  • stephen

    @ Brian–Sorry—Times up!!!–Just as I suspected, a typical bandwagon Laker fan. Does alote of talking but you don’t know squat!!!–I have an idea for you,why don’t you get some more basketball knowledge by talking to some other Laker fans that really know the game—Like Dustin Hoffman or Sylvester Stallone!!!!

  • Iggy Pap

    This year’s Game 7 loss to The Lakers was indeed the most painful for Celtics fans.

    I know because I watched several grown “men” cry over the loss like babies inside the Staples Center.

    Conversely, this year’s Game 7 WIN, trophy presentation, parade, and ongoing party is easily the most joyful.

    Re-match? Don’t make the sports world laugh!!

  • carlos

    @ stephen: look celtic fan, I’m really tired of your C’s nation pulling out every excuse in the book for why you lost. I guess all your rationale makes sense since even the head coach, Doc, tells the media, and I quote, “our starting line up still has not lost a championship. Its just too bad that for the second year in a row we were not able to get the title because we didn’t have our starting line up….” I can’t believe he went as far as saying that his starters have not lost! That’s some serious kool-aid his making them drink. This is sports! Players get injured and you have to accept the fact that a loss is a loss. You had a 13 point edge and you gave it up. You lost the finals to the Lakers. End of story because that’s all I’ve been hearing is “stories.”

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @stephen…Did you even watch Game Seven in Boston in 1984?

    Worthy didn’t throw away the pass that Henderson stole in Game Seven. that was Game Two.

    And Magic’s successive missed free throw adventures came in Game Four.

    Not in Game Seven.

    I guess you didn’t actually watch Game Seven or else you’d know that despite a desperate rally by the Lakers near the end, Boston had matters pretty much in hand.

  • Steve

    How funny is it that Lakers fans hang out and post in this forum? I’m trying to imagine what it would take for me to get onto the Laker forums and post–much less read–anything there. No one is really interested in what you dudes think. Just go fantasize about being Kobe’s bitch, flying your Laker flag on your cars, and continuing to not know anything about basketball.

  • Iggy Pap

    Yo Steve, eat a bag of dicks.

    Your team lost.
    Our team won.

    We are here to gloat.
    If you try to claim you have never done the same, you are a bold faced liar. Who’s eating a bag of dicks.

    Kisses!!

  • Iggy Pap

    Paul Pierce is already back at his house in Los Angeles!! Hahahaha, couldn’t wait to get his ass out of boring ass Boston!! How fitting and classic. Radio reports that he was turned away from a favorite local restaurant.

    Now to track him down and shower him with a cup of piss.

  • JSmith

    @Stephen

    Guess what!

    BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!BOSTON SUCKS!

    Stop complaining already. Your team lost and we won. We didnt complain when we got smacked by 30+ points. It was good win for Boston in 2008. Sorry but this win is much sweeter.

    BTW, if Lakers had made all their free throws, we would of won by 14+ points.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @steve: We’re just having a conversation here, fan base to fan base regarding the series.

    If it’s all that upsetting to you, there’s always the option to just ignore the posts that are all that bothersome.

    I can’t think of a reason in the world why anyone should ever have to feel predisposed to acknowledge a point of view that is so offensive to them that it might just upset their whole day.

  • Hi Haters

    The tears of Boston fans are still flowing I see. You had a golden opportunity: a winner-takes-all match with a chance to extinguish your greatest rival’s title hopes on their own court. The entire game was a low-scoring, defensive struggle. You stifled the Lakers best player offensively.

    With all of that, you still relinquished a 13-point lead in the second half. Now you want to cry about bad calls, about injuries!

    Trading for the Big 3 mortgaged your future for short term success, and it worked; your 2008 title was well-deserved. Yet in the three-year window for the Big 3, the Lakers hoisted the trophy twice. Now Kobe is looking to add to his ring collection while you crybabies can look forward to a decade of mediocrity while pondering all the “what-ifs” from Game 7. Happy trails!

  • I love Green

    It still hurts pretty much the same. Everytime I see anything Celtics, it just depresses me.

    This one was the worst for me because I wasn’t old enough for 80s ones.

  • Ray Leighton

    @Iggy and the other Lakers’ fans — you guys don’t get it. You jerks are the ONLY group of fans in the league that think it is cool to talk trash and come on to other team’s websites to gloat. I really resent some idiot coming on to this website and saying that I would go over and gloat on your website if we won, and that if I say that I wouldn’t, then I must be a liar. Only a small-minded moron who is incapable of thinking any other way but his own would presume that. Just because you are an asshole and behave like an asshole, doesn’t mean that we are all assholes. This may come as a terrible shock to you but the purpose of these websites is not to talk trash; it’s to talk basketball. And talking basketball isn’t a statement such as “Celtics/Lakers/Your team here SUCK”. I realize that is a novel concept for you. Yes, no doubt we would have celebrated if we won, but we would have kept it here on our website.

    Well congrats, you managed to win a Game 7 by four points and six minutes and somehow that makes your Lakers far, far better than the Celtics?? Four points is the turnaround on one missed play in transition. The Lakers played well and now they are champions but deep down, every one of you Laker fans know that you were sweating it in the 4th quarter, and every one of you knows how easily that game could have gone the other way. And yet you have the unmitigated gall to behave like poor winners?

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people who root for the biggest asshole in professional sports are also assholes.

  • Ray Leighton

    And as for Zach’s question…. I’ve been watching since 69. Aside from my childhood horror in 1970 when I discovered that the Celtics didn’t win every year….

    The 87 series Game 4 made me the angriest because it was unquestionably the worst call (in the sense that it altered the outcome) I have ever seen in a Finals game — McHale lost the ball out of bounds because he was blatantly fouled from behind, but there was no foul. Several of the 87 Lakers have admitted that. But as awful as that was, it was evident that the Celtics simply didn’t have the depth past the starting-five to beat that Lakers team (I’ve often thought that the mid-80s Celtics were probably the best starting five in the history of the game (at least as long as I have been watching), but the mid-80s Lakers were the best overall team). In many ways, the 87 series was somewhat similar to this year — Game 6 was a game in which the Cs played their hearts out, but all of the starters were banged up and playing 40+ minutes for most of the series, and they just were exhausted.

    But in many ways, of all of those years of Celtics teams, the last few years of Celtics’ players have been my favorite. So losing this year, by such a small margin in a Game 7, was the worst.

    I imagine that somewhere, Elgin Baylor has a smile on his face. Truthfully, the Lakers ought to just give him the trophy.

  • Iggy Pap

    I understand that the only way to console yourself in this tremendous loss is to attempt to brag how close you were. Really? Really??

    They threw away a 13 point lead, and in turn lost the game. Yep, we ONLY won by single digits. But you’re missing the point, douchedrinker: THE LAKERS WON. Don’t matter how many points.

    Now go cuddle your Paul Pierce doll, give it a nice dick tickle.

  • Robert

    Game 4 of the 1987 series was far more painful. People only remember Magic making that hookshot to win the game. What they tend to forget is that Boston had an 8 point lead with just 3 minutes to go in that game and started turning the ball over and let the game slip away from there. Then, as the article above points out Kareem misses a late FT keeping Boston ahead by a point with just seconds left but Mchale and Parish knock the ball out of bounds going for the rebound. After Magic made the game winning shot…Bird missed a shot that was about an inch too long. In the last 3 minutes of that game everything that could go wrong for Boston did. Game 4…1987 finals was by far the most painful loss for the Celtics I have ever seen.

  • Renato Afonso

    @Ray Leighton

    I’ve been a regular at FB&G since the blog was created and I also agree that the “Boston/LA/insert city name sucks” is just borderline stupid.
    However, you also shouldn’t generalize Lakers fans, otherwise you would be doing the same thing that you are criticizing. Also, when you talk about Lakers fan going on other sites to do this kind of trash, you should remember what happened on Lakers sites when your team won in 2008. It was as bad as this…

    Point is: every fanbase has a morons and you cannot avoid them, unfortunately. Don’t generalize.

    Basketball-wise, about the series, you should remember games 1 and 6. The Lakers won two games without even sweating and even game 3 wasn’t that hard in the fourth quarter. Game 2 by Boston was a Ray Allen anomaly and even then the game was hard fought. Except for game 7, all Lakers’ wins were more confortable than Boston’s, so no… we didn’t beat the Celtics by 4 points and six minutes only.

    Now on topic, from a Lakers fan perspective, I suppose that Boston’s most painful loss should equal the Lakers sweetest victory, as it is expected between rival teams. I was around in the 80′s and I can tell you that the ’87 victory was probably the sweetest.

    This year it was a game 7 and all, but we (Lakers fans) always knew that the Celtics were no match for the Lakers physically. We were just too long and you had to compensate by hitting more and harder near the rim (which generated more fouls). Plus, your Big 3 is not quite the same Big 3 it was in 2008.

    The ’87 game was sweeter because we were beating the supposedly greatest team ever based in the previous year record. Plus, beating Larry Bird and Kevin McHale (who were genuine superstars who cared about winning) means a lot more than beating Garnett (import from Minny and more bark than game nowadays) and Pierce (who just takes flopping and supposed injuries to soccer levels when somebody touches him).

    Ultimately, every Lakers fan wanted to shut up KG and Pierce mostly because we don’t respect them. But beating Larry and McHale meant more because it testified the Lakers greatness… And 10 or 20 years from now, people will talk more about the ’87 team than the ’10 team.

    PS: Sorry for any mistake I made… English is not my mother tongue.

  • Axe Head

    As a lifelong Celtic-hater, there haven’t been a lot of high points. Thanks for putting them all together for us!

  • G

    Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!!Boston Sucks!! Stop crying Lakers were the better team. It was a hard fought series and the team that won deserved to win.

  • G

    No seriously look we shouldn’t really hate each other so much. if we didn’t have this rivalry where would the NBA be today. Lets all hope for the rubber match next year.

  • Roger n LA

    @stephen- dude. why do you ask all Laker fans that idiot question? who cares what nasty nate did? what is that anyway, a key for entrance into the jeopardy hall of fame? if you watch the game again, 3rd quarter, you’ll see how tired the celts were. man up and blame it on conditioning. for, i as well feel that they lost more so than we won. yet denying the fact that running out of gas was the reason you guys lost cheapens the gamesmanship involved in competition. grow up and graduate. here’s a quiz for you. who is the only rookie to win Finals MVP? hint; he beat bird twice in the Finals.

  • Roger n LA

    @stephen- the comment about how hard it was for boston in the east. really??? lets do the math. you beat an uncoached bronbron with a NEWLY formed team core. you beat a one man team with the heat and you beat, basically, a one man team in orlando. if you thought that vince carter mattered, you have your new answer. best record in the league means crap in the post season. it only provides seeding. you guys have a ring as well as ‘sheed. thats called experience. if you were really a celtic fan, you would know that you got to game 7 because of having a strong, experienced team. not because you beat your king ‘bron and your superman dwight howard. just because the media pumps these guys up all year doesn’t detract from the fact that they keep rebuilding their teams. i would bet my house that the cav’s would’ve won the ring this year, if doc rivers were the coach. its not about talent. its about experience and leadership. something none of your eastern conference competition brought to the table. touche’

  • Roger n LA

    one more stevie, since the league expanded to more than 16 teams, how many times has boston successfully defended the ring? how many times has LA done it? HUGE difference, ain’t it?

  • Stephen

    @Roger—-Magic Johnson–Greatest Nba finals performance I’ve ever seen. Your right–the Lakers have successfully defended the ring mostly because they never have to get through anyone along the way.Go ahead and celebrate your paper championship, many of them are for the Lakers. In fact, during the 80′s the only time the Lakers were ever seriously challenged was during the 87 playoffs when they played San Antonio –Artis Gilmore & Co.—–The Lakers only repeated in 88 because of a phantom call on Bill Laimbeer–who by the way would be the last player I would ever side with——Also, let’s not forget how many embarrasing finals the Lakers have been a part of. They didn’t even compete against the 1983 Sixers. They were part of the most embarrasing NBA Finals of all time—Remember the sold call dream team that got their asses waxed by Detroit. Remember Magic & Co. against the Bulls. Also the 1986 team that avoided the Celtics like the plaugue. They purposely threw their series against Houston so they could hide from the Celtics. The Lakers are successful when everything lines up for them perfectly.—–Exception when Magic played center against the sixers after Kareem went down. Sorry my friend–we can compare East to West amongst other things. But you all saw what happened –The Lakers didn’t win this thing–The Celtics lost it—Anyway David Stern is happy—-One of his two goldenboys wound up with the title. By the way–the head to head record is still 9-3 Boston and as far as L.A Laker fans are concerned the Celtics lead them 17 banners to 11-12 for the Lakers. Only weak-ass Laker fans take credit for titles that were won outside their own state. They “”Backed in to this title”" . True “”Paper Champions”. Also, when the Miami Heat win their first title come back on here after you jump back on their bandwagon.You’ll fit in perfectly with all the other bandwagoners on here.

  • Stephen

    @Roger–Correction–Miami does have 1 title–Nearly forgot about the year that one of the most overrated centers in NBA history rode on D. Wade to victory.

  • http://www.fefebeydesignsinc.com Raoul

    It was a Great Game 7 In “HollyWood” get it! You know in “Hollywood” you just read from the script Boston has won every tight game like that that they have played great Defense even without scoring, but for the Refs to blow their whistles 21 times in the 4th Period come on something is up??? The Paul Gasol Travel bullshit Kobe Bryant foul to give him three free shots!!! Maybe the real reason Doc Rivers steps away from the game is the Politics because Kobe Bryant even said hisself and I repeat “I Don’t know how we won this game” 21 Fouls Called in the 4th Period no way!!! It was all a show, The greatest hosked ever, Like George Bush cheating in Florida to win the Presidency!!! Fixxed!!!!!!!

  • Braziman

    The C’s lost because they could not throw the ball in the hole. Nothing more to it. Brick Shuttlesworth, etc. etc.

  • Sean Foster

    I have been around for the entirety of Celtics greatness. I remember, quite distinctly, the losses mentioned in this post. This year’s Game 7 will go down as the worst. The 2010 Lakers destroyed the Celtics, I am afraid to say. Our boys just could not keep up with their fiercest foes. As much as it pains me to admit, the Lakers earned this championship and this Game 7 loss will haunt us to our graves.

  • kehn

    to other Laker fans:

    let’s leave poor stephen alone. he’s obviously butthurt and drunk from the whine he’s drinking to wash down his meal of sour grapes and crow.

    would you like a hug?

  • carlos

    @ stephen-you continue to crack me up! It’s funny how all you can do at this point is (a) talk about basketball from 20+ years go (b) blame every other team in the west for not being competitive enough (c) say that David Stern is somehow manipulating coaches, refs, owners, players, etc. to set up the Lakers for a finals win (d) call the Lakers a paper champion as if the Celtics didn’t even play on the same floor. This is not a boxing bout where three judges “choose” a winner and finally (drum roll please) talk about the Celtics championships vs. the Lakers as if today’s titles will not mean anything until they make up the 9-3 difference. You need to say in your posting at some point that “For all the great legacy that the Celtics have had in the past, today’s Celtics have won ONE championship in the last 24 years.” How’s that for bringing up the past?

  • Steve Nashly

    I don’t know if you noticed, but the Lakers drew so many fouls in the fourth because the Celtics were playing the same type of D they had in the first half. If they refs had called the game like a regular season game, the Celtics would’ve been down by 10 or so at the half. Sure, the Artest-Pierce call didn’t make sense, but how many actual shooting fouls were called in the first two quarters, and which team do you think benefits from the refs refusing to make calls? The lakers are not an aggressive defensive team, with the exception of Artest and Vujacic, while the Celtics have some of the reachiest players in the league.

  • hj

    who here really knows basketball? a win is a win no matter how you get it. If you watched the game, of course there was a foul advantage in the fourth. There was really about one really poor foul call (Big baby on Gasol). Otherwise, the reason the Celtics were called for fouls was because they were tired and were constantly late and using their hands and not their feet. This was due to the cumulative effect of playing defense for an extra TWENTY-THREE possessions. They take care of the defense, the area the pride themselves on, they win. They didn’t do it, they lost. Another point. EVERYONE gets tired. Are you really going to use that as the reason the Celtics lost? It’s always one thing or the other. They had the same amount of rest as the Lakers. Also, terrible coaching idea to put Ray on Kobe every single game. Ray’s legs were gone. Game’s 2 and 5 were his only good games. Give the man some rest while he’s on the court and you get better production from him. KG was scared to touch the ball the last 4 minutes of the game unless he had a wide open dunk and he shot the best percentage of anyone on his team. Why didn’t he get touches. You can say the refs won the game for the Lakers all you want, but it’s pretty clear that the Celtics made very poor decisions down the stretch and were just plain beat down on the boards. Just look at who attacked the basket in the 4th and you’ll know. Everyone knows you’re going to get more foul calls in the paint than at the 3-point line. Again, a win is a win in my book. And in the record books. Doesn’t matter how much you win. It matters that you win. If you’re gonna make an argument for the Celtics, at least understand the game first.

  • Kevin Garnett

    I only had 3 rebounds. That wasn’t the refs fault, and that was the reason we lost.

  • Stephen

    @Raoul — Your absolutley correct—David Stern decides who the champion is, and Kobe knows exactly how the Lakers won the game and he knows it wasn’t because of talent. You see, the proof is really from all these Laker fans posting here who deep down know what we know. See, if there were no question in their minds who the better team was, they would talk their smack and then leave it alone. See in 2008 we beat them by 39, the biggest smackdown in NBA Finals history—No one in their right mind questioned who was the better team. Laker fans are tipping their hand by continuing this argument because “”They”" aren’t sure. They realize they were helped and it kills them to admit it. Oh and @kehn—-Whine as you put it–Lol—-is for pussies——-I prefer Bushmills !!!!!

  • carlos

    @stephen-I still have not heard from you that Boston LOST the finals. That Boston has won ONE championship in 24 years.

  • Stephen

    @ carlos—Ok I admit it–The Celtics lost the finals rather then the Lakers winning it.

  • Ray Leighton

    Celtics and Lakers Fans: Can we stop this bullshit?? Celtics’ Fans — we didn’t lose because of the officiating. The officiating sucked throughout the series, but it sucked both ways. We didn’t lose because of the league or some other conspiracy theory, because more big money stood to be won if the Celtics had won, as Game 7 was on the Lakers’ home court and Perk was injured.

    We may have lost because people were hurt, particularly because it meant older players had to play more minutes than normal and so everyone was exhausted, but that’s part of the game — it’s 12 players, not just five. There are injuries every year; nobody is 100%.

    We lost because we gave up 23 offensive rebounds. Take away those second-chance points for the Lakers, and the game is a walk-away for us, but it doesn’t matter because the Lakers did get 23 offensive rebounds. Pau Gasol did a fantastic job reading the ball and getting into position, and we did a poor job at blocking him out. And so we lost. It was a hard loss because it was a close game in a Game 7. But the Lakers won. When a game is this close, one play or one call can make a difference, but that too is part of the game. Stop arguing that we deserved to win more than they did. It demeans us.

    Lakers’ Fans: Stop acting like it’s a fact that your team was supposed to win in a walk-away (and keep in mind that if it were a fact, then your guys did an incredibly mediocre job during the Finals). Maybe it is your opinion, but it isn’t backed up by anything. For anything that you throw out there statistically, someone over here is going to counter it. And regardless of what happened in earlier games, it doesn’t matter — it was a four-point win in a Game 7. One play swinging the other way. Regardless of whether you expected to win, you came extremely close to losing and nobody would give a damn if you had won Game 1 by 100 points if you still lost Game 7. It was a close, hard-fought, series by the two best teams in basketball. To be honest, I didn’t think that the Lakers had that much heart and I expected that we would roll you because your bench was so bad, but your bench played great and you killed us on the boards when it mattered, and you won. So congratulations.

    And one other thing that I want to make clear: I don’t hate the Lakers because they are the Lakers. Back in the 80s, the Lakers were arch-rivals, but I didn’t hate them — how could anyone hate Magic? The guy loved playing so much and he was a joy to watch. But I do hate the Lakers now. I hate the Lakers now because the Selfish Asshole (a guy who basically cost you two more championships) plays for them, and because of the Lakers’ fans. I apologize in advance for generalizing; I know that there are some decent Laker fans out there, but as a group, compared to any other group of fans I can think of, you guys are the worst. Yeah, maybe you got abused by Celtics’ fans back in 08, but you know something? They probably weren’t people from this website. We’ve got a great website here, but you guys are just crapping it up because you can. So what galls me more than the fact that the Lakers won is the fact that Lakers’ fans get to celebrate about it. Your team deserved a championship. But a lot of Laker fans did not.

  • Gerald

    @ Ray Leighton – back in the 80′s, i never hated the lakers and magic because magic is not like kobe. magic is a humble man. kobe is too proud and people hate a person who is too proud. do you know that when some fans were interviewed and asked who they like to win, some answers were, “i’m going for celtics, i don’t like kobe”. but for others, they would say, “i’m going for la because i like kobe”.

    The values of a fan would show in the teams they are rooting for. I’m not generalizing that fans who go for kobe do not have values. Because not all fans who post here do trash talk. But i would like to say that fans who do not like kobe either love the celtics very much and/or hates kobe very much because of his being so proud.

    I like celtics because i like the way they play and the personalities inside PLUS i hate kobe.

    Let’s face it, we are rooting for certain teams because of the way they play and the personalities involved.

    Entertainment, video games, sports, is a form of relaxation and outlet for stressed people. Again, i’m not generalizing, but it is possible that rude laker fans are loosers in their own personal fields that’s why this win really matters for them and they are blowing out all the joy that they have inside up to the point of trash talking.

    At the end of the day, it’s just entertainment, and we are all entitled to be entertained.

  • Ray Leighton

    Gerald — we are agreeing. 100%. I have never understood people who just root for a team because they happen to live in the same town. I do not live in Boston; I am not from Boston, but to me, the Celtics have had a tradition of what it means to be a real team, and that is why I root for them. And I dislike the current Lakers largely because of Kobe.

    But yeah, you are probably right about the motivation for trash-talk.

  • Renato Afonso

    @ Gerald and Ray Leighton – You do have a classy blog here, like most of the blogs which are part of the TrueHopp network. Like I said, I’ve been reading and posting on FB&G since the blog begun and there you will also find educated Lakers fans who do know a lot about basketball (we just happen to be on different sides than you are). Yes, we will have different opinions about our series, but we can discuss it properly. I do apologize for all the idiots who come here to trash your fan blog, because I certainly didn’t like seeing it 2008 and I can relate.

    Hopefully, I’ll be posting here sometimes with my “enemy” perspective on the Celtics…

    Regarding rooting for a team because you live in a certain area, I think it’s easier to root for teams you are able to see playing live than others.

  • Bob

    Great blog. I guess the most painful Celtic playoff loss has a lot to do with the ones you’ve seen/experienced. The junior skyhook takes it for me, but that was because I saw it on the tube. That Celtic team, like this one, had injuries (McHale playing with a broken foot that ended up curtailing his career) to overcome and almost made it over the hump.
    I’m still not over this one. I think losing Perk was the reason. Factor him in and you get more boards, better D on Gasol and Sheed doesn’t cramp up.
    But that’s all water under the bridge now.

  • Tim

    I’m a Lakers fan, and I have hated Kobe ever since he joined the team. A longer story, but why is it so hard to believe that someone likes their hometown team?

    Approaching this article a different way, I have to say that the 1987 win via Baby Hook was sweeter than this year’s victory. Not to take anything away from the come-from-behind win, but I can’t tell you how many times I practiced Magic’s shot in my backyard. The last second heroics are what made it such a memorable victory for the Lakers, and an even more painful loss for C’s fans.

  • ed1

    First – it was Shaq who broke up the Kobe/Shaq pairing, not Kobe. The Lakers made a financial choice (because Shaq and Garnett had pre CBA contracts and Shaq wanted 30+ million per while Garnett restructured to help his team) between the 2 and chose Kobe. Shaq ended up making less for Miami than the Lakers would have paid him anyways. He’s an idiot.

    Second, all great athletes are arrogant but compared to Pierce – who is not one of the league’s top five players – and Wade and James and TMac and Shaq, Kobe is very measured about his bragging and boasts – and he still gets tagged with “arrogant ahole” What great athlete isn’t?

    And if Kobe were a Celtic (or on anyone else’s team) you’d love him like LA fans do. Garnett – 3 rebounds. Kobe – 15 rebounds, MVP again.

    Game.

  • http://thenullhypodermic.blogspot.com/ Brian Tung

    @Ray: I think most Lakers fans do not treat the outcome as a foregone conclusion, much as most Celtics fans don’t. We’re just seeing some of the more extreme perspectives on top of all that. My point wrt stephen is only that both teams contributed to the result. I don’t think that’s such a controversial point, stephen’s trivia question notwithstanding.

    @ed1: Not everyone likes Kobe just because he’s a Laker (if they’re Lakers fans). I generally do like him, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times I just cringe over what he’s doing on or off the court. Still, you’re right that the team makes a big difference. If you’re a Celtics fan, Pierce shows grit and determination; if you’re a Lakers fan, he’s a wheelchair faker. Accusations of Pau or Paul flopping obviously depend a lot on which team you’re rooting for. (Although, I’ve got to say, they’re two of the more bad-acting floppers around and I’m surprised their act continues to work.)

  • http://celticshub john

    now you know how Jerry West and Elgin Baylor felt after losing all those games 7′s to the Celtics. Of all the Celtics i hate Paul Pierce the most. He talks so much shit! “We’re not going back to LA”! why doesnt he just shut-up and ride his wheelchair. he’s the Faker!
    I know he can back up his shit most of the time, but when he’s wrong he looks totally ridiculous! how stupid he must feel for making such bold predictions.

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