The 1985-86 Boston Celticsfielded one of the best teams in NBA history. That year the Celtics won 67 games, going 40–1 at home. Larry Bird won his third consecutive MVP award after having arguably his finest season, and Bill Walton won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. They would win their 16th championship and last for 22 years, defeating the Houston Rockets in 6 games in the NBA Finals.
Mar. 24, 1979 - Larry Bird scored 35 points, 16 rebounds, and 9 assists as Indiana State advances to the NCAA finals. Magic Johnson of Michigan State recorded a triple double 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists as they advance to NCAA finals.
NCAA finals: To this day, the 1979 NCAA finals remains the highest-rated game in the history of televised college basketball. Michigan State, coached by Jud Heathcote, defeated Indiana State coached by Bill Hodges, 75–64.
The final game marked the beginning of the rivalry between future Hall of Famers Johnson and Larry Bird. Both Magic and Bird would enter the NBA in the fall of 1979, and the rivalry between them and their teams (respectively, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics) was a major factor in the league’s renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s. The game also led to the “modern era” of college basketball, as it introduced a nationwide audience to a sport that was once relegated to second-class status in the sports world.
This was the first tournament in which all teams were seeded by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. The top six seeds in each regional received byes to the second round, while seeds 7-10 played in the first round.
Before the Rockets 94-74 loss to the Celtics (Kevin Garnett scored 22 points and Paul Pierce added 20), Houston had a team-high 22-game win streak. Houston’s streak was also the second-longest in NBA history; longest was the Los Angeles Lakers 33-game win streak that went from November 5th, 1971 to January 7th, 1972.
After Boston beat the Rockets, Tracy McGrady said this about the Celtics: “It’s a hell of a team over there. They outplayed us. I’ve never seen a defense like that. I mean, if they play defense like that, night in and night out, the NBA is in trouble because that was defense at its finest.”
Tonight the Miami Heat will go to Boston looking to extend their wnning streak to 23 games, and take sole possession of the 2nd longest streak in league history.
Do you think the Celtics will end Miami’s 22 game win streak like they did the Rockets? Can lightning strike twice? Will history repeat itself? Or will Miami beat the Celtics and extend their win streak to 23 games?
This came 9 days after Kevin McHale scored 56 points to set a new Celtics scoring record. When McHale came out of that game, Bird told him he should go for 60 and then 9 days later, Bird proved that he should have.
Below is an 11 second rare gem-of-a-clip, showing Bill Russell on a coast-to-coast sequence supposedly from when Russell was playing at the University of San Francisco, and though elements of the clip are clearly sped up and slowed down, those effects don’t distort the glaring athletic advantage that Russell flashes in literally leaping over a defender for a score!
Bill Russell’s measurements: 6-9 5/8ths - without shoes (Sports Illustrated 1956) 7-4 wingspan 215-240lb playing weight range
Bill Russell jumps OVER a player from near the FT Line - INSANE speed and hang time:
The NBA introduced the Three-Point Shootout competition during the 1986 All-Star Weekend and for the first two years of the competition, Bird was dominant.
Bird won the first three three-point shootouts ever, and even would walk into the locker room before the contests and ask the other contestants who was going to finish second.
Dale Ellis had one of the sweetest shots the league has ever seen, and he was poised to give Bird almost all he could handle. Ellis smoothly knocked down shot after shot in the final round, leaving a score of 15. After tying Ellis with 15 points and with the last ball, the money ball, in his hands Larry ‘Legend’ Bird fired and a second later with the ball barely off his fingers, turned and walked away with his index finger in the air.
Scores from the 1988 Three-Point Shootout:
FIRST Round: Larry Bird: 17 Dale Ellis: 16 Byron Scott: 19 Detlef Schrempf: 15 Danny Ainge: 14 Mark Price: 14 Trent Tucker: 11 Craig Hodges: 10