Saturday night will be the sixth time the Philadelphia and Boston have met in a Game 7.
These are two of the NBA’s legendary franchises and located less than a six-hour train ride apart. They are natural rivals and this Game 7 Saturday in the Eastern Conference semifinals is just the next chapter in that history.
Let’s take a look back at the first five (the Celtics lead 3-2):
1965 division finals: Celtics 110, Sixers 109: Everyone thought this would Philadelphia’s year — ending the Celtics six-year title streak — because they had just acquired this little guy named Wilt Chamberlain. Wasn’t to be the case. This was a one-point game at the end and Philly was going to have the last shot but John Havlicek stole the inbound pass. Boston made it seven titles in a row knocking off the Lakers.
1968 Division finals: Celtics 100, Sixers 96: Philly was the defending NBA champion and had a 3-1 series lead on the Celtics, but it wasn’t enough. Boston had Sam Jones dropping 22 in the final game and Philly had no answer.
1977 conference semifinals: Sixers 83, Celtics 77: This was a low-scoring game just like Game 7 this year will be. You’d like to think the newly acquired Dr. J was the answer for the Sixers (and he wasn’t bad) but it was World B. Free dropping 27 off the bench that was the difference. You hear that Lou Williams?
1981 conference finals: Celtics 91, Sixers 90: This was as close an NBA playoff series as there has ever been — five games were decided by 2 points or less. Including Game 7, where Larry Bird drained the game-winning jumper. Bird did those sorts of things, he was cold blooded.
1982 conference finals: 76ers 120, Celtics 106: This is the 7th game current Sixers coach Doug Collins pulled out to show his team before Game 6, to say it could be done. This is the game where Andrew Toney earned the nickname “The Boston Stranger” as he had 34 points and hit all the big shots it seemed. But that Dr. J guy added 29, he was impressive as always.