On April 16th in 2008, the Boston Celtics completed the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history.
By defeating the New Jersey Nets 105-94 at the TD Garden, the Celtics finished the 2007-08 season with a league-best 66-16 record. Finishing with the third-best win tally in franchise history, the Celtics bounced back from a conference low 24 wins in the 2006-07 season.
The huge jump (42 wins) can be largely credited to the franchise trading for perennial All-Stars in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the offseason of 2007.
Both superstars were key additions to the squad on both ends of the floor, but it was Garnett that ignited and led the Celtics to the top of the league's defensive charts - 1st in defensive rating (98.1) & 2nd in points allowed (106.8). In the previous season (2006-07), the Celtics ranked 16th and 18th in those categories respectively.
For transforming the team, almost single-handedly on that end of the floor, he was named the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, he even finished third in the MVP voting that season behind Kobe Bryant (MVP) and second-placed Chris Paul.
The Big 3 of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce would lead the way in the postseason as the Celtics played an NBA record 26 playoffs games en route to their first title and the franchise's 17th overall.
A 👀 back at the 2008 @NBA Champions: The @celtics #MegaTeams pic.twitter.com/dQMSk5dAYl- NBA TV (@NBATV) August 23, 2017
It was the Celtics' first in 21 years.
Bulls eclipse Lakers' 69-win record
On April 16th in 1996, with an 86-80 road win against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls recorded win #70 for the season with three games remaining. In the process, eclipsing the previous single-season wins record of 69 set by the 1971-72 Lakers.
The Bulls would go on to win two of the remaining three games to set the single-season NBA record for wins at 72.
This record stood for 20 years until the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors broke the record by finishing their campaign with 73 wins.
Other notable events on April 16th
- In 1947, on the day of Game 1 of the first-ever NBA Finals between the Philadelphia Warriors and Chicago Stags, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) was born in New York.
- In 1967, Wilt Chamberlain set the Finals record for most rebounds in a single half with 26 in Game 2 as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the San Francisco Warriors 126-95. Both teams' combined tally of 169 rebounds tied an NBA Playoffs record.
- In 1983, the San Antonio Spurs set the NBA record for field-goal percentage in a single game as they shot 70.7% in a 132-120 win against the Dallas Mavericks at the Reunion Arena.
- In 1987, Micheal Jordan scored 61 points (22-of-38 FG; 17-fo-21 FT) in a 117-114 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
- In 1991, as the Philadelphia 76ers lost in overtime 108-99 to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, they set the NBA record for most overtime games played in a single season - 14. They went 8-6 in those games.
- In 1993, following a 113-110 win against the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Lenny Wilkins moved into the second spot on the all-time wins list (trailing only Red Auerbach).
- In 1994, Don Nelson, of the Golden State Warriors, became the second-fastest coach ever to reach 800 career wins (1,372 games). Only Red Auerbach recorded 800 wins in fewer games - 1,227.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 16th
Chris Mills vs. Milwaukee Bucks in 1994
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