Found August 21, 2012 on Boston Sports Then & Now:

The trade for Bill Walton put the Boston Celtics over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The greatest team in the history of the Boston Celtics was the 1985-’86 squad. This edition boasted one of the deepest frontcourts of all time with Robert Parish at center, Kevin McHale at power forward, and Larry Bird at small forward in the starting lineup.

There was one offseason move that put the Celtics over the top of the league. After the Celtics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals in 1985, President Red Auerbach knew he had to upgrade the bench. The starting unit played over 2,500 minutes during the season and they were exhausted when they had to play the Lakers who were bent on exacting revenge for letting the series in 1984 slip away.  The Celtics sent Cedric Maxwell to the Los Angeles Clippers for 6-foot-11-inch’Bill Walton.

Walton was an extraordinarily gifted passer and he had put up Hall of Fame statistics throughout his career. The issue with Walton was he could not stay on the court. Before the 1985-’86 season, Walton had not played more than 67 games which came in the previous year when his minutes declined to 24.6 per game. Auerbach knew that if Walton’s minutes continued to drop, this would increase the chances of Walton staying healthy for the majority of the season.

This theory proved to be correct as Walton played in a career high 80 games and he only averaged 19.3 minutes per game.  Walton was also a team player who had won earlier in his career both in college (UCLA) and NBA (Portland Trail Blazers). His skills brought out the best in Bird. Bird was among the league leaders in five categories. He was fourth in scoring (25.8 points per game), seventh in rebounding (9.8), first in free throw percentage (89.6), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (42.3), and ninth in steals (2.02).

The Celtics also employed Scott Wedman, a talented reserve small forward who was an All-Star and the leading scorer for the Kansas City Kings (they eventually became the Sacramento Kings). Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge provided a pressure defense and playmaking ability for the scorers in the frontcourt. These two guards also could score in double figures. Jerry Sichting was a depth guard.

There was continuity with this team since the players played together for many years other than Walton. K.C. Jones returned for his third season as the head coach. Jones had already led the Celtics to a championship in 1984 and he nearly helped them successfully defend their title.

The Celtics led the NBA in rebounding (46.4), which was five more than their opponents. They scored 114.1 points per game, which was 8th in the league and they finished third in points allowed (104.7). The entire starting five averaged double figures in points and three players averaged at least 8 rebounds per game. Wedman scored 8.0 points per game while Walton posted 7.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists off the pine.

This roster also featured five Hall of Famers (Bird, McHale, Parish, Walton, and Johnson). There were six players who became head coaches or President of Basketball Operations (Bird, McHale, Johnson, Ainge, Sam Vincent, and Rick Carlisle). Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks) and McHale (Houston Rockets) are active head coaches. Ainge is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics. Bird won the Executive of the Year with the Indiana Pacers in May before he decided to leave the organization after turning them into a playoff caliber team.

The Celtics finished the season 67-15. They went 40-1 at the Boston Garden with their only defeat coming against the Trail Blazers on December 6th.

In the postseason, the Celtics swept through the Eastern Conference. They lost only one game to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They swept the Chicago Bulls in three games in the first round. The Celtics survived Michael Jordan’s output of 63 points in Game 2.  The Celtics were hoping for vengeance against their rival, the Lakers. The Lakers lost four straight games after winning the opener in the Western Conference finals to the Rockets.

The Rockets had two 7-footers in Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon. Sampson was 7-foot-4-inches and Olajuwon was 7 feet. Since the Celtics had a deep frontcourt, they were able to neutralize the Twin Towers. They also utilized double teams from Bird and Johnson to harass both Sampson and Olajuwon.

Bird posted 24.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.5 dimes in the series. The Celtics took the series in six games to finish the playoffs with a 15-3 record. They won all 10 of their home contests in the playoffs.

This team can truly be defined by the word dominant.


Celtics forward Chris Wilcox talks resigning with Boston, 2012-2013 season, and more!

Boston Celtics forward Chris Wilcox joined CLNS Radio last night to discuss a wide variety of topics relating to his heart surgery, resigning with the Celtics, and the upcoming NBA season. Wilcox joined the show for roughly 25 minutes and took two calls from Celtics fans. Chris had some great things to say about the [...]

Your Morning Dump… Doc Rivers has hired another assistant coach

The Boston Celtics have hired Erie BayHawks head coach Jay Larranaga to work as an assistant coach, sources close to the situation have confirmed. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted the news shortly before 10 p.m. today. The Erie Times-News confirmed the report with sources close to the situation. Larranaga led Erie to the D-League playoffs in his two seasons guiding the...

Boston Celtics to hold tryout for Maine Red Claws prospects

Have you ever dreamed of being a professional basketball star? Are you a former college basketball player with an impressive basketball resume? If you are, the Maine Red Claws and Boston Celtics have an opportunity for you. Today, the Maine Red Claws announced that their hybrid partners, the Boston Celtics, will be hosting an invitation-only [...]

Boston Celtics hire assistant coach Jay Larranga

Twitter / WojYahooNBA: The Boston Celtics have hired … via kwout Y! Sports’ Adrian Wonjarowski is reporting that the Boston Celtics have hired former Erie Bayhawks (NBA D-League) head coach Jay Larranga as the team’s newest assistant coach. Larranga, age 36, is also the current head coach of the Irish National Basketball squad and was an [...]

Celtics re-sign F Jeff Green

The Boston Celtics have re-signed forward Jeff Green. Green missed all of last season after a physical exam revealed an aortic aneurysm. He underwent surgery and became a free agent before signing Wednesday. The 6-foot-9 Green had been expected to play a key role as a backup forward last season and is being counted on to do that next season. The Celtics obtained him from Oklahoma...

Welcome Back Uncle Jeff

Boston Celtics press release: The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent forward Jeff Green. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We are thrilled to be able to have Jeff back with the Celtics,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations. “Jeff’s versatility on offense and ability to guard players out on the perimeter...

A silent but deadly offseason

The offseason was reminiscent of a storm brewing off a shoreline, that shoreline being the Boston harbor.  Danny Ainge was able to collect pieces that will have the Boston Celtics in a better position than last year.   This is remarkable considering last year’s team lost to the Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Without diving into all the other...

Today's Celtics Links 8/21

Herald  NBA, Ticketmaster team up on ticket site Celtics Green  Rondo Gets Around- Hanging out with UK Volleyball Team Playing H-O-R-S-E Celtics Hire Jay Larranaga as Assistant Coach Celtics Life  ESPN 30 for 30 Movie: Once Brothers Celtic Nation SQ12#21 Is Good Basketball an Entertainment Fail? Lex Nihil Novi  Let the Lakers Pursue their Superstars C's Still not Playing...

Today's Celtics Links 8/20

Herald  LeBron James savoring special summer Kevin Durant goes from gold medal to red carpet Andrew Bogut encouraged by progress after ankle surgery Celtics Green  The Many Sides and Talents of Brandon Bass The System Matters Some Random Dionte Christmas Thoughts Green Street  What we know about Jeff Green’s Celtics contract Chris Wilcox: ‘I want to get better than where...

Fiddlin' & Diddlin' - Daily Links 8/22

Herald  Clippers’ Chris Paul undergoes thumb surgery Globe  Celtics hire Jay Larranaga as assistant coach Celtics Green  The Green Monster Celtics 2012 Rookie Photo Shoot Dionte Christmas Is a Guy You Have to Pull For Celtics Life  A Silent But Deadly Offseason The Most Random NBA Player Commercials CLNS Radio  Celtics forward Chris Wilcox talks resigning with Boston,...

Jeff Green Officially Signs With Celtics

The Celtics officially signed Jeff Green, more than a month after coming to terms on a contract.

Jason Terry does what every player should do: Expect success

Let me tell you a little story about me. It was my junior year and I was co-captain of the Emerson College men's basketball team (the same team, incidentally, that produced Sam Presti and Rob Hennigan. Our career paths kinda went in different directions, huh?  Anyway... ). The team, historically, had sucked. I mean, REALLY, sucked. Like Bobcats bad.  But that year...

GreenLight Madness: #9 Seed vs #24 Seed

Two of the latest matchup winners featured two posterizations of franchise players as the opposition.  Avery Bradley’s ownage of Kevin Durant and Brandon Bass’ humiliation of Dwyane Wade in Game 7 both advanced quite easily to the sweet sixteen.  Today’s matchup features one of the few compilations, but it absolutely had to make it since it was huge at the time.  Paul...

Jason Terry hopes that the Mavericks retire his jersey

Before deciding to sign with the Boston Celtics, Jason Terry spent eight years with the Dallas Mavericks. In those eight years, Terry won a NBA championship and was consistently one of the best sixth men in the league. Those credentials are nothing to scoff at. There are plenty of players in the league that would love to have a NBA championship and be regarded as one of the best...

ESPN 30 for 30 Movie: Once Brothers

I finally had the opportunity last week to see the much heralded documentary "Once Brothers." It aired months ago on ESPN, but I'll be honest with you with the exception of Celtics games, I try to watch as little ESPN as possible. One thing that ESPN is good for is it's 30 for 30 documentaries and "Once Brothers" was tremendous. I highly recommend it...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.