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A historical look at Sixers-Celtics rivalry



When "Havlicek stole the ball," I saw him on a 13-inch black and white TV in the kitchen of my Northeastern Philadelphia home. The game brought me, a nine-year-old fledgling Sixers fan, to run agonizingly into my bedroom, never show up until the next morning, and cry me to sleep.

The play was the first reminder of one of the most legendary rivalries in NBA history. Now these two teams meet again for the 20th time in the postseason.

John Havlicek stole the ball with five seconds to go in a tense, decisive game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals, which were played in the old Boston Garden and sealed a one-point victory for the Celtics. Maybe you've seen the play, screaming with Boston's late radio voice Johnny Most: "Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over! It's … everything … over!" Boston would eventually go on to win the title this year, one of the NBA's record eight straight championships, a string that was ironically broken by the Sixers in 1967.

I remember listening to the radio at night the Sixers the Champion Celtics in Game 5 of their best-of-seven Eastern removed Conference Final series in front of a booming crowd in Philly's Old Convention Hall

The following year met the teams again in the East Finals, with a seventh and decisive game in the brand new Spectrum. The late Wilt Chamberlain, one of the league's biggest scorers, scored just nine shots in the game. The Celtics would win and dethrone defending champion Sixers, who returned from a 3-1 deficit in the series. Remember that you come back from 3-1 …

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = ================================================== ================================================== ================================================== ================================================== ================================================== ================== The next three games with a total of five points, which commit the series in a game 7 in Boston Garden.

Next year, the Sixers would again face Boston in the Eastern Finals, and again the Sixers to a 3-1, only to see that Boston wins the next two by an average of 13 points decisive, but the Sixers would be the basketball world shock with a 120-106 victory in a game 7 in Boston. "Sixer shooting guard Andrew Toney," Boston Strangler, "scored 34 in the win, with the usually venomous Boston Garden crowd shouting" Beat LA, Beat LA "as a farewell speech to the Finals Sixers.

" data-reactid = "27 "> Fas It went on until 1981. Julius Erving now led the Sixers, and Larry Bird was Boston's headliner. In these Eastern Conference Finals, 62-times Sixers led the series 3-1, only to see Boston win the next three games with a total of five points and win the series in a game 7 at Boston Garden.

The following year, the Sixers would again face Boston in the East Finals, and again the Sixers to a 3-1 lead, only to see Boston, the next two win decisively by an average of 13 points. But the Sixers would shock the basketball world with a 120-106 victory in a Game 7 in Boston. Sixer's shooter Andrew Toney, "The Boston Strangler", scored 34 in the victory. The usually venomous Boston Garden crowd screamed in unison "Beat L.A., Beat L.A." as a delivery to the Finals-Sixers.

The teams then met in the playoffs several times, including their last meeting in 2012, when the Sixers extended the Celtics to seven games in the semifinal of their conference, only to lose Game 7 in Boston.

No one who has played in this game is currently with the Sixers or Celtics. But none of these new players will have to look far to get a historical perspective and see exactly what it means for these two teams to meet in the NBA playoffs … again.


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