Boston Celtics Trends
The Boston Celtics are a professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Celtics' 17 NBA Championships are the most for any NBA franchise. The Celtics' greatest domination came from 1957 to 1969, with 11 championships in 13 years, and eight in a row (1959-1966), the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any North American professional sports team. They currently play their home games at TD Garden.
Overall Trends for the Boston Celtics
The Celtics either dominated the league or played a large part in the playoffs in the late 1950s through the mid 1980s, winning 16 NBA Championships in 30 years between 1957 and 1986, and reaching at least the conference championship series in 29 of 35 seasons between 1953 and 1988. Then, after the deaths of Len Bias in 1986 and all-star Reggie Lewis in 1993, the team fell into a steady decline, only making the playoffs four times from 1996 to 2007. The franchise has recently returned to prominence, and on June 17, 2008, the Boston Celtics won their 17th championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the 2008 NBA Finals.
History of the Boston Celtics
The Celtics were formed in 1946 as a team in the Basketball Association of America, and became part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the merger of the BAA and the National Basketball League to form the NBA in the fall of 1949. In 1950, the Celtics became the first franchise to draft an African American player, signing Chuck Cooper.
Winning Trends under Red Auerbach
The Celtics struggled during their early years, but with the hiring of coach Red Auerbach the Celtics began a dynasty that would last for more than a decade. In 1959, still coached by Auerbach, the Celtics won seven more consecutive championships, extending their streak to eight in a row. In 1964, Auerbach made the Celtics the first team to have an all African American starting lineup. The Boston Celtics of the mid-1950s-60s are widely considered one of the most dominant teams of all- time.
After the 1966 championship, Auerbach retired as coach and Bill Russell took over as player-coach. With his appointment, Russell also became the first African American coach in the NBA. Auerbach remained the General Manager, a position he held well into the 1980s.
Celtics Trends in the 1980's
The Celtics went 62-20 under coach Bill Fitch in 1980-81, and in 1983-84 the Celtics, under new coach K.C. Jones, went 62-20 and finally got back to the NBA Finals after a three year hiatus. In the finals, the Celtics came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 15th championship.
In 1985-86 the Celtics fielded one of the best teams in NBA history. The 1986 Celtics won 67 games, going 40-1 at their home, the Boston Garden. Bird won his third consecutive MVP award and Walton won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. They won their 16th championship and last of the 20th century,
At the end of the 1985-86 the Celtics owned not only the best team in the NBA but also the second pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. The Celtics drafted Len Bias with the pick and had high hopes for the young University of Maryland star. Unfortunately, Bias died 48 hours after he was drafted, after using cocaine at a party and overdosing. Despite the loss of Bias, the Celtics remained competitive in 1986-87, going 59-23 and again winning the Eastern Conference Championship.
After the 1987-88 season, head coach K.C. Jones retired. Jones was replaced as head coach by assistant Jimmy Rodgers. Rodgers faced immediate trouble in 1988-89 when Larry Bird decided to have surgery to remove bone spurs in both feet. In the 1989-90 season playoffs, after winning the first two games of a Best of 5 series against the New York Knicks, the Celtics collapsed, losing 3 straight, including the decisive 5th game at the Boston Garden. In the wake of the embarrassing defeat, Rodgers was fired and replaced by assistant coach Chris Ford.
Recent Trends for the Boston Celtics
Under Ford's leadership the Celtics improved to 56-26 in 1990-91. In 1992, a late season rally allowed the Celtics to catch the New York Knicks and repeat as Atlantic Division champions. After thirteen seasons with the club, Bird retired in 1992 primarily due to his back injuries
In 1995, the Celtics moved from the Boston Garden into the Fleet Center (renamed the TD Banknorth Garden in 2005). General Manager M.L. Carr fired Chris Ford and took the coaching reins himself. Carr stepped aside when Celtics principal owner Paul Gaston convinced Rick Pitino to join the franchise as the team's president, director of basketball operations, and head coach. Pitino failed to coach any successful teams and resigned in 2001.
Following the resignation of Rick Pitino, the Celtics improved greatly under coach Jim O'Brien. O'Brien stepped down during the 2003-04 Season and was replaced by interim coach John Carroll.
The Celtics were a young team under new coach Doc Rivers during the 2004 season, but went 45-37 and won their first Atlantic Division title since 1991-92. The 2006-07 season was a gloomy one for the franchise. The Celtics recorded a record of 24-58, second-worst in the NBA, including a franchise record 18-game losing streak.
After a dreadful 2006-2007 season, the 2007-2008 Celtics had a successful regular season, and completed the largest single-season turnaround in NBA history, finishing with a league-best 66-16 record, 42 games better than the previous year. The Celtics won their record 17th NBA championship and the franchise's first championship in 22 years.
The 2008-09 Celtics garnered a record of 62-20, and earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The 2009 NBA playoff series went to 7 games, but the Celtics lost to the Orlando Magic, the first time they had ever lost a series after leading 3-2.
The Celtics finished the 2009-10 regular season with a 50-32 record, placing the team in the 4th position in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs.
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