2.10.2016

Best Series Ever? Puhlease.



Game 7. 1981 Eastern Conference Finals. 5:23 left in the game. A majority of the starters on both teams have been on the bench for the last three minutes. . . resting . . . knowing they'd need it cuz the last five minutes was gonna be like the rest of the series--hellacious. The two teams have been going hammer and tong all season long. They split the regular season series, 3-3. Now they are knotted at 3-3 in the playoffs.

The winner gets an invitation to the NBA Finals, and will be the prohibitive favorite. The Celtics trailed most of this game by a margin of 5-11 points, and currently trail by 7, 89-82. The starters return for both teams. Every possession the rest of the way is like a round of a heavyweight bout, Ali-Norton. The Celtics' offense scores 9 of the games' final 10 points, the defense preventing the opponent from scoring a single field goal in more than five minutes of play. The green goes on to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 3, after once trailing in the series 3-1. Boston then plunders Houston in 6 games, hoisting banner 14 in the process.

There you have it. My submission for the best series ever. We won't even talk about the 1982 ECFs, where the Celtics again returned from the dead to tie a series at 3-3 after trailing 3-1, only to lose the 7th game at home. Nor will we talk about the 1974 NBA Finals, where the road team won five of the seven games, including the last four in a row. And of course we won't talk about any series not involving Boston.

Bob Ryan had this to say:

As has been written approximately 173,464 times in the past week, only three other teams in NBA history had successfully extricated themselves from a 1-3 hole in a seven-game series. But in none of the other cases did the comebacking team win the three games it needed by margins of two, two and one points. In none of the other cases did the comebacking team continually rebound from serious deficits the way this Celtic team did in the past three games. It is neither a hyperbolic, nor an ethnocentric statement to contend that this was, without question, the gutsiest series comeback in the 35-year history of the world's foremost basketball league.

Now let's talk Bulls-Celtics. First round of the 2009 NBA playoffs. The winner goes on to lose in the very next round. The regular season Celtics-Bulls contests were a bunch of forgettable ho-hummers. The Celtics were playing the series without two of their top eight rotational players. And people thought this was the best series ever?

Let's get real.

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