clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Boston Celtics History: Playoff Potpourri trivia quiz

Test your knowledge of the Celtics storied playoff history.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

If one wishes to try the harder All-Star edition of the quiz, try to answer the questions without looking at the multiple choice offerings.

Backdoor layup-Which eastern rival has beaten Boston in the most playoff series?*how many times

A) Philadelphia 76ers/Syracuse Nationals B) New York Knicks

Dunk-In their 12 NBA Finals showdowns against the Lakers, how many times has Boston emerged victorious?

A) Seven B) Nine

Layup-Who is the only team to beat Boston in a game seven of the NBA Finals?*what year

A) Hawks B) Lakers

Free throw-Which Celtic was named Finals MVP in the 1974 seven-game win over Milwaukee?

A) John Havlicek B) Dave Cowens C) JoJo White

Free throw-Which Boston Hall of Famer was voted Finals MVP in 1976 after the Celtics beat spunky underdog Phoenix in six games?

A) John Havlicek B) Dave Cowens C) JoJo White

Free throw-Who was voted MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals as the Celtics beat Houston, 4-2?

A) Larry Bird B) Cedric Maxwell C) Robert Parish

Jump shot-Who were the only two teams from 1975-88 - a span covering 28 playoff series - that held homecourt playoff advantage in a post-season series vs. Boston?*name the years

A) 76ers/Lakers B) Bucks/Bullets C) Bucks/Lakers

D) 76ers/Bucks

Jump shot-What team did Boston sweep 2-0 in their first-ever mini-series/best-of-3 meeting in 1977, the initial post-season after the NBA/ABA merger?

A) Houston B) San Antonio C) Indiana D) New York Nets

Hook shot-Who was the first team Boston beat in a game seven ON THE ROAD in an NBA Finals?*name the year

A) St. Louis Hawks B) Los Angeles Lakers C) Milwaukee

D) Phoenix

3-pointer-Over Larry Bird’s first seven seasons in the NBA, his Celtics held the homecourt advantage for how many playoff series in a row?*what team ended this amazing streak

A) 14 B) 16 C) 18 D) 20 E) 22

3-pointer-Which Hall of Famer scored the most points in a single game vs. Boston in a Finals contest?*how many

A) Bob Pettit B) Elgin Baylor C) Jerry West

D) Wilt Chamberlain

3-pointer-Which rival was the first visiting team to win a game seven at the venerable Boston Garden?*name the year

A) LA Lakers B) New York Knicks C) St. Louis Hawks

D) Philadelphia 76ers E) Philadelphia Warriors

31 points is the highest possible score; extra points only apply if the correct answer is given first.


Backdoor layup-A)*8. Boston leads the post-season all-time series vs. the 76ers/Nationals, 58-47.

The Celtics have beaten the 76ers/Nationals franchise 13 out of 21 playoff meetings. Boston and Syracuse were tied through 1961 4-4 head to head.

Since the Nats moved to Philadelphia in 1963, the Celtics have beaten the 76ers nine out of 13 series.

The 76ers defeated Boston in the eastern finals in 1967, 1980 and 1982, and also in the 1977 east semis.

Boston has beaten the Knicks eight out of 15 series, and holds a 36-31 all-time lead in playoff games.

Dunk-B) Boston holds a 9-3 series edge over the Lakers in the playoffs, all in the championship round. The Celtics won the first eight championship series between the rivals through 1984. Boston holds a 43-31 edge all-time in Finals games over the Lakers (39-31 vs. LA, 4-0 vs. Minneapolis).

Layup-B) The Lakers rallied to edge Boston 83-79 in game seven of the *2010 NBA Finals at the Staples Center.

Free throw-A) John Havlicek was the first Celtic to be named Finals MVP after leading Boston to a seven-game win over the Bucks.

But it was the 6-8.5 Celtic center, Dave Cowens, was the hero of the 102-87 game seven win, with 28 points and 14 rebounds while out-playing 7-2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Hondo shot just 6-20 in the clincher, but scored 20 points, including two key three-point plays. For the series, Havlicek scored 26.5 ppg with 7.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists. Cowens averaged 22.7 ppg and 9.9 rebounds.

The Finals award was not given until 1969, and Laker Jerry West was named MVP that year in a losing effort to the Celtics. West remains the only player from a runner-up team to be named Finals MVP.

He posted a 42-13-12 triple-double in game seven, a 108-106 loss to Boston. For the series, West averaged 37.9 points and 7.4 assists per game.

Free throw-C) JoJo White was named MVP of the 1976 Finals. But once again as in 1974, Cowens was the star of the clinching game. Playing with five fouls he scored nine big points down the stretch, including a steal and three-point drive, to clinch the 87-80 victory.

Cowens averaged 20.5 points and 16.3 rebounds a game in the series, while White scored 21.7 ppg and added 4.3 assists.

In game six, the redhead shot 10-16 from the field and scored 21 points with 17 boards.

White scored 15 points in the finale but shot just 5-15 from the floor.

Free throw-B) Cedric Maxwell. Cornbread led Boston in scoring with 17.8 ppg in the series. Bird averaged 15.3 points and 15.3 rebounds, and led the team in assists with 7.0 per outing. In game one he made the clinching putback in a 98-95 win, and posted an 18-21-9 line.

After slumping for much of the rest of the series shooting, Bird broke through with 27 points and 13 boards and led Boston to victory in the game six clincher at Houston with three huge late baskets (including a corner triple), 102-91.

Jump shot-A) The *1977 Philadelphia 76ers and 1987 LA Lakers were the only teams to hold homecourt advantage in a playoff series over the Celtics from 1975 through 1988.

Boston went 22-6 in those 28 series, losing in seven games to the 76ers in 1977 and in six to the Lakers in the 1987 Finals, dropping the clincher each time on the road.

Other teams to beat Boston in that span were the 1975 Bullets (4-2 in the ECF), the 76ers in the 1980 and 1982 ECF, the Bucks in the 1983 east semis, and LA in the 1985 Finals.

Only in 1980 and 1982 did Boston lose the series finale at home, both to the 76ers.

Dating back to 1972 over a 35-series span until 1989, Boston had home court in all but three series, the other being the 1974 Finals, in which they beat the Bucks in seven on the road in the clincher.

Jump shot-B) San Antonio. The Celtics swept George Gervin and company in the first Spurs NBA campaign, winning 104-94 at home and 113-109 in Texas. Jo Jo White averaged 31 ppg in the series while Gervin scored 25 ppg.

Hook shot-B) The first time Boston had to beat a team on the road in a seventh game came in 1969, when they memorably upset the Lakers 108-106 at the Forum in the last game for Bill Russell and Sam Jomes.

Five years later the Celtics beat the Bucks in game seven in the 1974 Finals behind Dave Cowens and series MVP John Havlicek.

In 1968, Boston beat the 76ers on the road in game seven, but that was the eastern finals, not the NBA Finals.

3-pointer-D) 20. Incredibly, in each of Bird’s first 20 playoff series from 1980-87, the Celtics had the homecourt advantage, a testament to their sustained excellence despite playing in the rugged East Boston actually posted the best record in the NBA six of Bird’s first seven seasons, the lone exception being 1983 when the champion 76ers had the best record.

Only in the 1980-81 campaign did Boston NOT have the better record than all of its playoff opponents from 1980-86. That season, they tied the 76ers for the best record at 62-20, but won the tiebreaker after beating Philly in the regular season finale.

Home court proved pivotal as Boston won game five over the Sixers by a point and then took game seven at home 91-90 to win a thrilling series before going on to beat Houston for their 14th banner.

3-pointer-B) Laker forward Elgin Baylor scored a Finals record 61 points in game 5 of the 1962 Finals at Boston Garden. His outburst led LA to a 126-121 win and a 3-2 lead in the series, which Boston later won in a game seven overtime thriller.

Baylor shot 22-46 from the field and 17-19 from the foul line in his record-setting performance.

Jerry West tallied 53 points in game one of the 1969 Finals vs. Boston, a 120-118 Laker win. West shot 21-41 from the field and 11-13 at the foul line.

Pettit tallied 50 points in the game six clincher for the Hawks in the 1958 Finals, a 110-109 St. Louis win.

3-pointer-B) The *1973 New York Knicks, after blowing a 3-1 lead over the Celtics, upset Boston 94-78 in game seven at the Garden. Captain John Havlicek was hampered by a separated shoulder in the series.

Boston went 68-14 and beat the rival Knicks by 11 games in the regular season standings. In 15 season and playoff meetings that year, the Knicks won the series, 8-7.

The 76ers are the only other team to turn the game seven trick at Boston Garden in 1982’s eastern finals, 120-106. In an eerie similarity, Boston also fell behind 3-1 in that series after a separated shoulder to playmaker Nate Archibald, then rallied to tie it 3-3 before losing game seven.

To contact the quizmaster directly, contact Cort Reynolds at

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog