1.18.2008

Remembering the First Celtics-Lakers Game in 86

Tomorrow represents the 22nd anniversary of the first Celtics-Lakers tilt in the 1985-86 season. I remember this game as if it was yesterday. It was my birthday. I was in college. At the beginning of the semester I had bought a thirteen inch color TV for three reasons. 1. Watching Celtics highlights at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN and CNN. 2. Watching Celtics highlights at 1:30 a.m. on ESPN and CNN. 3. Watching the Celtics games on CBS and TNT.

To the rest of the world the day represented Super Bowl Sunday, the day the Chicago Bears were scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the Louisiana Super Dome. Do you think I cared? The Celtics were involved in their own Super Bowl, a game that would go a long way toward telling basketball fans which team would be favored to win next NBA championship in June.

The Celtics dominated the game from start to finish, and Bill Walton, the last great Celtic to wear the number 5, led the way. The victory sent the Celtics on another winning streak. The Lakers, a team some felt might have a chance to eclipse the 1971-72 record of 69-13, went on a losing streak.

It simply couldn't get any better.

But it did.

The Celtics followed up this win with an even more impressive one over the purple at the Forum, winning comfortably without McHale, who was suffering from an injury to his Achilles tendon.

The 1986 Celtics were a team that started coming together and picking up steam in mid- to late January. Let's see if the 2008 Celtics can kick it up a notch around the same time, too. The fact that Ray Allen is starting to elevate his game might be the first sign.

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