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Celtics Legends Series: Cedric Maxwell 1981 Finals MVP

Posted by shawn cassidy on June 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Often overlooked because of the quality of his teammates (Bird,Mchale,Parish).Maxwell got his due in helping Boston defeat Houston in six games. Maxwell averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds in the series.It was Bird's second year, and the Celtics found a leader in Cedric durning the 1981 NBA Finals.

Cedric Maxwell - Celtics Legend

The Celtics, like Maxwell, did not have their best seasons in the late-70s, but with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish joining the organization in the early 80s, Boston’s success rate spiked.

By 1981, Maxwell and his teammates had already taken the most storied franchise in basketball history back to the top. The Celtics, led by an MVP performance by Maxwell in the series, defeated the Houston Rockets in six games of the NBA Finals to bring a 14th World Championship home to Boston. Maxwell averaged a team-high 17.7 PPG to go along with 9.5 RPG during the six-game series.

Three short years later, Maxwell and the Celtics were on the top of the league yet again with another championship in 1984. That title was even sweeter to the Celtics, as they defeated the rival Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Maxwell’s statistics were nowhere near those of his 1981 Finals MVP performance, but he still made enormous contributions with his 13.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG. His 28-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist outburst in Game 7 pushed Boston over the top.

Maxwell’s statistics diminished year-by-year after his stellar season in 1978-79, but he still left a lasting impact on Boston’s organization. Maxwell’s lasting impact with the C’s was felt so much, in fact, that the team retired his No. 31 jersey on Dec. 15, 2003. UNC Charlotte gave him the same honor in 1977 when the school retired his No. 33 jersey. He also has held the Celtics' franchise record for field goal percentage in a season, at 60.9 percent, since 1979-80.

The Celtics made the difficult decision of trading Maxwell, along with a first-round draft choice, to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sept. 6, 1985 in exchange for Bill Walton. Though his playing days with Boston ended with that trade, his career with the organization certainly didn’t. Maxwell returned to the Celtics family in 1995-96 when he was brought on board to be the radio color commentator for Celtics games. He continues to serve in that role to this day, with WEEI, while also making appearances with the organization as a Celtics Legend.

Categories: Celtics Legends Series

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