|Posted by shawn cassidy on August 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM|
The following season marked the beginning of the end for many Celtics. Tom Heinsohn retired before the 1965-66 campaign, and three of the team's five starters-Sam Jones, K. C. Jones, and Bill Russell-were more than 30 years old, and nearing retirement. Midway through the year Auerbach announcedthat it would be his final campaign as the team's head coach.
After a season-long battle for the Eastern Division crown, thePhiladelphia 76ers won 18 of their final 21 games. They posted a 55-25 record to edge the Celtics by a single game, ending Boston's10-year reign as the top team in the East.
The second-place finish meant that the Celtics had to get past Cincinnati in the first round of the playoffs in order to face the76ers in the Eastern Division Finals. Boston lost two of the first three games to the Royals, then took the final two to advance.Seasoned by the tough five-game series, the Celtics sliced rightthrough the 76ers in the second round, losing only one game. It's always nice beating the 76ers. Russell always out shined Wilt on a team level.
The 1966 NBA Finals once again had Los Angeles against Boston. After the Lakers' surprise overtime victory in Game 1, Auerbach announced that the team would be coached the following year by none other than Bill Russell, a move that inspired the club to win the next three games. Los Angeles managed to extend the series with a victory in Game 6, but the Celtics finished off the Lakers in Game 7, 95-93. Auerbach stepped down as coach with an unprecedented record of eight consecutive championships. This record will stand the test of time, and no team will come close to this in our lifetime. It's so amazing knowing how many game sevens the Celtics played in the 60's. They may have one less chamionship if one of those game 7's ended up going against the Celtics.
Categories: Celtics Best of the 60's