Season by Season
1985 to 1986
Bird is the Word as Celtics
Have Season for the Ages
Larry Bird earned his second Finals MVP award after leading the Celtics past the Rockets in six games.
Larry Bird had won his second consecutive Most Valuable Player Award the previous
year, but the loss to the Lakers in the Finals weighed heavily on his
mind. In much the same way that Magic Johnson had been driven all during
the previous season by the Lakers' failure in the 1984 Finals, Bird
set out to find a way to lead the Celtics back to the top. He did so
by finishing in the NBA's Top 10 in five categories: scoring (25.8 ppg),
rebounding (9.8 rpg), steals (2.02), free throw percentage (.896) and
three-point field goal percentage (.423).
The Celtics had also made an important addition with the acquisition
of Bill Walton, who came from the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade for
Cedric Maxwell. Walton, plagued by injuries for years, shocked NBA observers
by playing a career-high 80 games as a valuable backup to Robert Parish
and Kevin McHale. The contributions of Walton and fellow reserves Scott
Wedman and Jerry Sichting alleviated some of the burden from the Celtics'
starters, and propelled Boston to a franchise-best 67-15 record, including
an astounding 40-1 home record. The Celtics swept Chicago, defeated
Atlanta in five games, and swept Milwaukee to reach the Finals.
The Lakers had won 62 games, but were shocked in the Western Conference
Finals in five games by the Houston Rockets, who under former Boston
pilot Bill Fitch were employing a Twin Towers look with 7-4 Ralph Sampson
and 7-0 Hakeem Olajuwon playing together. Houston had won the Midwest
and won two Playoff series, but when the Lakers took Game 1 in the Western
Finals, NBA fans got ready for another Boston-LA meeting in the Finals.
But the Rockets surprised everyone by taking the next four straight
games to advance to the Finals. Playing at the top of his game, Bird
averaged 24.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.5 assists and led Boston's double-teams
of Olajuwon and Sampson as Boston took its 16th title in six games.
CELTICS SHUT DOWN TWIN TOWERS
FOR 16TH CHAMPIONSHIP
With Olajuwon and Sampson, the Rockets had brought a new wrinkle to
the NBA. In the days of George Mikan, and later, with Wilt Chamberlain,
Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond and Wiilis Reed, success in the league had
been measured by how good your best big man was. Houston decided to
take that formula a step further with their two uncommonly agile big
players. But the Celtics, unlike most teams, had the answers with Parish,
Walton and McHale, complemented by double-teams from Bird and Dennis
Johnson. Although the Celtics received much praise for their unselfish,
crisp-passing offense, it was their defense that brought down Houston.
"I don't remember the last time I was hounded by a team more than
I was today," Sampson said after Game 6. "Every time I touched
the ball, there were two and three guys around me. And that went for
NBA History Season by Season
Sharp Labs Inc.™
Try A search In Google Now!
Try A search
In Yahoo Now!
Copyright Sharp Labs Inc.,