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Memorable Moments

To cure boring lockout summer blues:

Memorable Moments
By Bob Ryan, Globe Columnist, 11/01/96

Wow. How do you pick the all-time best moments in Celtics history? And is
it a moment, or a game? Some of the greatest Celtics moments came at the
end of games that were, frankly, less than memorable, for instance, Larry
Bird's steal against Detroit in 1987. But they help define the individuals
for all-time, and must be included.

 First time is the best time

 APRIL 13, 1957. CELTICS 125, ST. LOUIS 123 (2 OTS) - Spectacular series
ends in spectacular fashion in Game 7 ... Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman
combine to shoot a ghastly 5 for 40, but the Celtics survive because of
rookies Russell (32 rebounds) and Tom Heinsohn (37 points, 23 rebounds),
plus the clutch shooting of Frank Ramsey ... Game features 38 lead changes
and 28 ties ... With Celtics up by 2 in waning seconds, St. Louis
player-coach Alex Hannum throws full-court pass off backboard to a waiting
Bob Pettit, whose guide-in hangs on the rim and falls out ... Red Auerbach
never deviates in saying this is his favorite game of them all.

 Greatest game ever? Perhaps

 JUNE 4, 1976. BOSTON 128, PHOENIX 126 (3 OTS) - Forgotten Man Glenn
McDonald wins this Game 5 with 6 points in third OT ... Second OT ending
has never been surpassed. Havlicek hits go-ahead leaner (111-110) and clock
is allowed to run out improperly. Time is restored. With no timeouts
remaining, Paul Westphal calls illegal timeout to get the ball at midcourt.
Jo Jo White sinks technical foul and Gar Heard answers with an 18-foot
buzzer-beater to tie the game ... Celtics lead by 22 late in first quarter
before Suns regroup ... White has 15 of his 33 points in the OTs ...
Endless amount of big baskets, tough rebounds, great blocks and even superb
refereeing by the late Don Murphy, who makes every big call and, suppported
by video tape, gets 'em all right.

 Havlicek steals the ball

 APRIL 15, 1965. BOSTON 110, PHILADELPHIA 109 - This makes Johnny Most
immortal at the same time ... The Celtics beat Philly in taut seventh game
with Wilt at peak of his archvillainy ... Leading by 1 with the ball,
Russell hits a guy wire with an inbounds pass to turn the ball over to
Philly with five seconds left ... Havlicek, guarding Chet Walker, tips away
Hal Greer's inbounds pass in direction of Sam Jones to save the game and
the series ... Sixers trailed by 17 (35-18) early, but Dave Gambee brings
'em back ... Sam goes for needed 37 ... Russell (29 rebounds) contains Wilt
(30 points, 32 rebounds) in fourth period ... Greer, always a class act,
takes the blame: ``I didn't put enough on the ball.''

 Bill Russell's Last Hurrah

 MAY 5, 1969 BOSTON 108, LOS ANGELES 106 - Title No. 11 for Bill Russell
... Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke has balloons in Forum rafters, ready for
celebratory release ... Lakers have Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin
Baylor, but Celtics have 36-year-old Russell and heart, spotting Lakers
Games 1 and 2 ... The Celtics lead by 17 in fourth, when Wilt goes down. Up
by 1 with 1:17 left, John Havlicek has ball knocked away - right to Don
Nelson, whose jumper hits back rim, bounces 12 feet in air and drops

 Bird and 'Nique at 20 paces

 MAY 22, 1988. BOSTON 118, ATLANTA 116 - A Game 7 to cherish: Bird (20
points) vs. Dominique Wilkins (16) in fourth-quarter battle of
one-upsmanship. ``Like the Shootout at OK Corral,'' says Reggie Lewis ...
Each team scores on 17 of 20 fourth-quarter possessions ... Game has no
dead spots, making the fourth period a cherry on an award-winning sundae
... Bird shoots 9 for 10 in fourth quarter.

Cousy, Cousy, and more Cousy

MARCH 21, 1953. BOSTON 111, SYRACUSE 105 (4 OTS) - No clock, so Bob Cousy
is in control, sinking 30 of 32 from the line. The Cooz creates the first
OT (three free throws). Cooz creates second OT (free throw). Cooz blows
potential winning layup at end of second OT ... Cooz creates fourth OT with
30-foot push shot with three seconds left. Cooz scores 9 of team's 12
points in fourth OT.

Toughest 3-1 comeback ever

MAY 3, 1981. BOSTON 91, PHILADELPHIA 90 - Hard for the 76ers to take, since
they were up, three games to one, with a 6-point lead and 1:40 left in Game
5. Celtics rally to win both Game 5 and 6 by 2 ... In Game 7, the Boston
crowd is as emotional as it's ever been, before or since. Down by 7 with
5:24 left, Celtics limit Philly to 1 point in its final 10 possessions.
Tied at 89 with 1:07 left, Bird rebounds Darryl Dawkins' turnaround,
dribbles upcourt and banks home go-ahead 17-footer. ``I wanted the ball in
my hands,'' Bird says. ``That's the only place I wanted it.''

Bird puts a hurt on the Pacers

 MAY 5, 1991. BOSTON 124, INDIANA 121 - It's deciding Game 5 and Bird
smacks his head on the parquet with 4:23 remaining in second quarter. The
Brits would say he's ``concussed.'' Groggy in locker room, he makes a
dramatic return to the court midway through the third period with the
Celtics leading by 2. He triggers 21-9 run with a long jumper, and finishes
with a 32-9-7 line (12 for 19 from the floor) ... He had not practiced for
a month because of a recurring back ailment and had spent the night
following Game 1 in New England Baptist Hospital.

 Celtics survive Jordan's 63 points

 APRIL 20, 1986. BOSTON 135, CHICAGO 131 (2 OTS) - ``I think it's just God,
disguised as Michael Jordan,'' says Bird. Jordan misses an open 15-footer
(tongue hanging out) at end of first OT. (Whew!). The final tie-breaker is
a foul-line jumper by Jerry Sichting with 57 seconds left ... Danny Ainge's
breakthrough game: 2 points midway through third quarter, but finishes with
24 ... Jordan fouled in the act 10 times (four times by Bill Walton) ...
Bird has a quiet 36 points, 12 rebounds, 8 steals ... Jordan breakdown: 13
jumpers, seven drives, one follow-up, one goaltended layup and one dunk.

 Two more steals to live in infamy

 MAY 26, 1987. BOSTON 108, DETROIT 107 - With the Celtics trailing Detroit
by a point, and four seconds left, Larry Bird steals Isiah Thomas' lazy
inbounds pass. Dennis Johnson, at midcourt when the play begins, makes a
cut to the basket and scores the winning hoop with a backhanded layup.
That's the essential part that too many people ignore when reviewing the

MAY 31, 1984. BOSTON 124, LA 121 (OT) - Twenty 20 seconds left in
regulation. Celtics down two. McHale bricks two free throws. Lakers call
(fateful/debatable) time out. James Worthy, trapped in backcourt without
dribble, hangs out a pass for Magic and quick-thinking and quicker-acting
Gerald Henderson steals the ball and lays it in over Worthy! ... Celtics
win in OT on Scott Wedman 'round-the-horn corner swisher.

 This story ran on page c9 of the Boston Globe on 11/01/96.