Monday, June 4, 2007

Thirty One Years Ago Tonight

June 4, 1976 - Game 5 of the NBA Finals - Phoenix at Boston.

The Celtics won the greatest playoff game ever in triple OT 128-126. I had a seat in the west end balcony as I bought a playoff strip for 84 dollars! I had already been to 8 games and the Celtics won them all in the old Boston Garden.

The Celtics won the first two games at home and Phoenix came back and won their two at home. So this was a huge Game 5 showdown. Boston seemed to have things well in hand but Phoenix made a last minute comeback to force OT. The Celtics had problems closing out the game on the foul line and Phoenix hit clutch shots to force a second OT. Once again Havlicek and Cowens staked Boston to an 8 point 2nd OT lead but Phoenix stole a 1 point lead with 5 seconds left. I rushed down from my balcony seat to witness the last shot close up at the end. The ball came in to Havlicek on the left side and he took an off balance jump shot he seemed to line drive off the backboard and through the hoop for a one point Celtic victory. I raced onto the parquet thinking the Celtics had won. But Richie Powers gave Phoenix a time out and a technical foul shot to the Celtics with 1 second put back on the clock. Jo Jo White made his technical FT to give Boston a 116-114 lead. Gar Heard hit his shot heard round the world to force a 3rd OT.

John Havlicek fouled out early in the 3rd OT and Glen McDonald came off the bench to hit three big buckets to give Boston a six point lead with a minute left. Phoenix came back with 2 baskets to close to 124 - 122 but Jo Jo White hit four FT's to preserve an incredible victory. And two days later, Boston won their 12th Championship 87-80 in Phoenix.

The game ended at 12:19am, thanks to those 9pm starts so I missed the last train home and my father had to drive in from the suburbs to get me.

The Q always remembers.

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