BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 15: Former Boston Celtic Bill Russell waves to the cheering fans in the first quarter as the Boston Celtics take on the Detroit Pistons on February 15, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Celtics game on Wednesday was highlighted not only by a tough win over the Magic, but also by a celebration of the Boston Celtics 5th championship that took place exactly 50 years ago on April 18, 1962. Jim Loscutoff, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Tom "Satch" Sanders, and last but not least Bill Russell gathered at center court during halftime of the game.
K.C. Jones was also part of the 8-man rotation that Coach Red Auerbach utilized for that playoff run, but KC was unable to attend. Still, to see the seven of the key rotation players assemble 50 years later was a sight to behold and moment to cherish for Boston Celtics fans.
We fans can happily report that the victory on April 18, 1962 was the first of seven championships wins that came at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers (the Minneapolis Lakers also previously fell to the Celtics in 1959). The game looked to be particularly thrilling as it took a 110-107 overtime effort in a Game 7 to get it done. The game was tied at 100 at the end of regulation due to two field goals by the Lakers' Frank Selvy to tie it up. Sam Jones and Russell proceeded to score 5 and 4 points in the extra period to secure the win.
The box score for the clinching game indicates that Russell, Sam Jones and Ramsay lead the Celtics with 30, 27 and 23 points. Red Auerbach apparently utilized Ramsay masterfully off the bench that game, advancing the Celtics legacy for the role that 6th men would famously fill on the Celtics over the years . . . one that perhaps (hopefully) that Ray Allen may reincarnate in the playoffs this year.
The Lakers had the hall-of-fame tandem of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, who scored 41 and 35 points respectively, but Red's 8-man rotation proved to be too much. Something tells me that poor Tommy took the brunt of that scoring barrage by Mr. Baylor . . .Tommy was the regular season scoring leader with a 22.3 points per game average, but he was held to 8 points in the famous Game 7.
Digging a bit deeper - because the box scores back then were pretty lame, sources indicated that the great Bill Russell had 40 rebounds in that Game 7, which secured his NBA record for 189 rebounds in a playoff series. If anyone can add how many assists/steal Cousy may have had and how many blocks Russell, that would be worth sharing.
A NEW SENSATION
Each took time to honor the 1961-62 team in their post-game comments. Garnett, according to weei.com, acknowledged the seven honorees to be part of the early foundation for the Celtics championship tradition.
"It's always good to see the foundation come back and see why you do this and see how this thing was built. I've always said those guys are the building blocks on which this organization was built. I always have a special place in my heart for guys who come before me and before us, because without those guys you have no idea and no kind of road map of what you want to be. They set the standard on which we play for, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Now that's class.
The homage to that 5th championship wouldn't be complete without a bit of humor from the C's captain. ESPN wrote that as the ceremony was ending, Pierce leaned in and told Garnett to keep April of 2058 clear on his calendar.
"Me and Ticket were talking about it -- that's going to be us down the road," Pierce said with a chuckle. "Coming back when we get older."
Note: Some game details and Russell's rebound stats were added subsequent to the original post.