Boston Celtics

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 17:44

History of Boston Celtics

About the NBA team Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics, an American professional basketball team, is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and plays in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Boston Celtics is owned by Wycliffe Grousbeck, with Doc Rivers as the coach, and Danny Ainge as the President of Basketball Operations. A team that was founded way back in 1946, the Boston Celtics has since then won 17 NBA championships, being the team with the most wins among all NBA franchises. This team plays their home games at the TD Banknorth Garden.

The early years of the Boston Celtics (1946–1956)

Founded in 1946, the Boston Celtics was a part of the Basketball Association of America (BAA). When the BAA merged with the National Basketball League to form the NBA in 1949, the Boston Celtics became part of the NBA as well. In 1950, the Celtics became the first team to draft an African-American player, getting Chuck Cooper to become part of the team.

The Celtics were struggling during their first several years, until the hiring of Red Auerbach as coach. Under the coaching of Auerbach, among the first major players to become part of the Celtics was Bob Cousy. Initially, Auerbach refused to draft Cousy, and Cousy became part of the Chicago Stags. When the stags went bankrupt, Cousy was acquired by the Boston Celtics through a dispersal draft. After the 1955-56 season, Auerbach engineered a great trade that made a big impact on the game of the Celtics. He sent both Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for their first round draft pick. Auerback also got Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn. The three newly drafted players worked exceptionally well together, and they became part of the Celtics for more than a decade.

Strengthening the Boston Celtics team (1957-1969)

Russell played in nearly every game of the season, and the Celtics made it to the NBA finals. They won against the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, which was the start of their winning 17 NBA championships. The Celtics also participated in the 1958 NBA finals, but they lost to the Hawks in six games. Despite that, though, the team's acquisition of K.C. Jones that same year led them to build a strong dynasty that lasted for more than a decade. In 1959, with Russell playing center, Heinsohn at forward, and Cousy at point guard, the Celtics once again reclaimed the title at the NBA championship, defeating the Minneapolis Lakers in the process. After that, the Celtics went on to win seven more consecutive titles, earning an eight-win streak for the team. In 1964, the Celtics became the first team to have a starting lineup composed of just African-Americans.

After the 1966 NBA finals, Auerbach retired as Celtics' coach and Russell became player-coach, making him the first African-American coach in the history of the NBA. Auerbach became the general manager of the team, a position he held until the 1980s. Russell retired once the 1969 season was over, bringing to an end the dynasty that won 11 NBA titles in just 13 seasons.

Bringing back the Boston Celtics dynasty (1970-1978)

The 1970 NBA season became a period for the Celtics to rebuild their dynasty. This was the year when they had their first losing record after the 1949-50 season. When the team acquired Paul Silas, Jo Jo White, and Dave Cowens, though, they became dominant once more. After they lost in the 1972 Eastern Conference Finals, they regrouped and had an outstanding 68-14 regular season record in 1973. The season ended up disappointing the Celtics, though, because they were defeated in seven games by the New York Knicks during the Conference Finals. The Celtics made it to the playoffs the following year and managed to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1974 NBA finals, making that their 12th NBA championship win.

Bird's contribution to the Boston Celtics (1979–1992)

Due to their poor record in the 1977-78 season, the Celtics got to pick two of the top eight candidates in the 1978 NBA Draft. The Celtics had to choose between two players, and Auerback chose Larry Bird, even though he knew that Bird, being a junior, would remain in college for a year to complete his studies. After Bird finished college, he signed with the Boston Celtics, and it was then that Bird's valuable contribution to the team began.

Another important story in the 1978-79 season of the Celtics was the ongoing dispute between Celtics owner John Brown and Auerbach. Auerbach nearly resigned from his position, but Brown chose to sell the franchise instead because he feared that the public would hate him if he drove Auerbach to resign. During Brown's short ownership of the Celtics, he had made a trade for Bob McAdoo, which Auerbach didn't like. The Celtics then struggled to regain their footing throughout the season. Although there were newcomers such as Tiny Archibald, Rick Robey, Chris Ford, and Cedric Maxwell, they didn't get to rebuild the team's momentum.

Bird first played for the Celtics in the 1979-80 season, one year after his selection. With the franchise having a different owner by this time, Auerbach made moves that helped the team regain its lost prominence. Auerbach traded McAdoo in exchange for M. L. Carr. He also acquired Gerald Henderson. The backcourt of the team, made up of Ford, Henderson, Archibald, and Carr, was very competent and worked well together with the frontcourt of Maxwell, Bird, and Cowens.

Bird played for the Boston Celtics for 13 seasons. He also played for the Dream Team in the Barcelona Olympics and won a gold medal. In 1992, he retired because of his back injuries.

The decline of the Boston Celtics (1993–2001)

During Bird's retirement, Chris Ford served as the coach of the Celtics. It was 26-year-old Reggie Lewis who became Bird's successor as the franchise player for the team. Lewis, having the position small forward, fainted during a 1993 matchup against the Charlotte Hornets. Later on, it became known that Lewis had heart problems, but he was able to get doctors to let him play. After playing in an offseason pickup basketball game, Lewis died of a heart attack. The Celtics honored him the following season by retiring his number, 35.

In 1994, the Celtics got M. L. Carr to be their new general manager. For his first draft, he acquired Eric Montross. In 1995, the Celtics moved to the Fleet Center (which was renamed in 2005 as the TD Banknorth Garden) from the Boston Garden. Carr fired Chris Ford and coached the team by himself. After acquiring Eric Williams, the Celtics struggled, having only a 33-49 record. The team got even worse during the 1996-97 season when they won only 15 times despite having drafted Antoine Walker, a 1st-round draft pick.

Carr got another job in the franchise when the Celtics got Rick Pitino to work as their president, head coach, and front office manager. Pitino managed to acquire several exceptional young players for the Celtics during his tenure, but he didn't get to save the team the way everyone expected him to. He resigned in 2001.

Rebuilding the Boston Celtics (2001–2007)

After the resignation of Rick Pitino, the Celtics improved under the coaching of Jim O'Brien. In 2003, then owner Paul Gaston sold the team to Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The 2006-07 started out as gloomy because of the death of Red Auerbach. During this season, the Celtics had a record of 24-58, the second-worst in the NBA.

Gaining back their prominence (2007-present)

The Celtics managed to acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett from the Seattle SuperSonics and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The season started with the Celtics winning their first eight games, and they went into 2008 with a 26-3 record. The season finished with the Celtics having a record of 66-16, which gave them home court advantage during the playoffs.