Not the first time this has been brought up, but this is a well written comparison by Mike Fine in the MetroWest Daily News. Here's his summary of 1987:
Toward the end of the season, the Celtics were still a force, still a viable championship defender. They won their 50th game, going 50-18 on March 22, but now Bird's back was hurting, too. And there was the matter of Kevin McHale fracturing his foot during a March 22 game at Chicago. Few realized how serious it would be.
Bottom line: a year after missing only 26 games due to injuries, the Celtics' top eight players were up to 61 games missed, and if you throw in Walton, who never could crack the top eight, that would be 133 games. The Celtics went on to sweep the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, struggling for 4-3 series wins over the Bucks and Pistons before falling to the Lakers, 4-2, in the Finals.
They wouldn't get a sniff of the Finals for the next 21 years.
Here's his take on this year's squad:
Heading into Chicago last night, the Celtics' top 10 had missed 83 games because of illness and injury.
Toward the end of the season, the Celtics are still a force, still a viable championship defender. They won their 50th game last Friday, but without Garnett in particular, it's been a struggle. Heading into Chicago they were only 9-8 since their 12-game winning streak was snapped by the Lakers at the Garden on Feb. 5.
Does history repeat itself? Let's just hope that it won't be another 21 years before they get another sniff of the Finals.
The 21 years part seems a little over-gloomy, but the injury comparisons are very valid. This team is still a force and they might use their sheer willpower to get back to the Finals. Hopefully they can write a different script and win it all again (and again).