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Boston Celtics

This Date in NBA History: Boston Celtics clinch first title in franchise history in 1957, and more

On 13th April in 1957, the Boston Celtics clinched their first title in franchise history. They did so by defeating the St. Louis Hawks in Game 7 of the 1957 NBA Finals.

Both teams battled hard with five of the seven games finishing with a margin of five points or lesser, including the championship-deciding Game 7 which the Celtics won in double-overtime 125-123.

In Game 7, two Celtics' rookies were the biggest contributors - Bill Russell (19 points, 32 rebounds, 2 assists) and Tom Heinsohn (37 points, 23 rebounds, 2 assists). For the Hawks, the trio of Bob Petit (39 points, 19 rebounds, three assists), Cliff Hagan (24 points, 16 rebounds), and Slater Martin (23 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) led the way.

Going by series averages, the Celtics had a mix of veterans and rookies among their key players in this Finals series. The veteran duo of Bob Cousy, who averaged 20.7 points, 9.1 assists, and 6.7 rebounds, and Bill Sharman, who averaged 21.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists were instrumental.

The 1957 title was not only the first in franchise history but it was the first of 11 that the team would win over a span of 13 years. The two rookies of the 1957 Finals (Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn) were pivotal figures in the Celtics dynasty.

Russell averaged 13.3 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for the series while finishing Game 7 with a double-double of 19 points and 32 rebounds. Heinsohn, who led both teams with a Finals scoring average of 30.1 finished Game 7 with a team-high 37 points.

Other notable events on April 13th

  • In 1948, the Baltimore Bullets (the original Bullets franchise which folded in 1954) recorded the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history when they came from 21 points down to win 66-63 in Game 2 against the Philadelphia Warriors.
  • In 1975, Larry McNeill of the KC-Omaha Kings set an NBA playoff record for most field goals without a miss when he shot 12-of-12 from the field in a 102-95 win over Chicago in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
  • In 1986, the Boston Celtics closed out the season with a 135-107 home win against the New Jersey Nets. That gave the Celtics a 40-1 record for the season, setting records for the most home court wins and the highest home winning percentage (.976) in a season in NBA history.
  • In 1996, Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns and Mitch Richmond of the Sacramento Kings were selected for the final two roster spots of the Dream Team III, the team that competed in the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta.
  • In 1999, Pat Riley records the 939th win of his career, passing Red Auerbach for the sole possession of third place on the all-time victory list.
  • In 2012, the franchise's decision to change its name from New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn Nets and move to New York was approved by the NBA's Board of Governers.
  • In 2016, Stephen Curry dropped 46 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 for an NBA record 73rd regular-season victory. With this win, they surpassed the previous record of 72 wins held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 13th

Chris Wilcox vs. Phoenix Suns in 2004

Shaquille O'Neal vs. Utah Jazz in 1997

Hakeem Olajuwon vs. Dallas Mavericks in 1996

Charles Barkley vs. Washington Bullets in 1988

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