Nothing in sports like a Game 7, and for the Celts they've certainly had their fair share. All time they are 23-9 in this do or die game, and on this day in 1988 we were blessed with an all time showdown between Larry Legend and Dominique Wilkins in the Eastern Conference Semi's. One of my true regrets in life is that I didn't find a way to be born earlier so I could have had a functioning brain during the Bird era. Watching highlights like that just hammer that point home even more. Dominique was a monster, with 16 of his 47 points in the fourth, Larry was right there with 20 on his 34 in the fourth quarter, and this game had 20 ties and 22 lead changes. That's about as stressful as a Game 7 gets in my opinion.
While he doesn't get a lot of the publicity when talking about that game, Kevin McHale threw up a casual 33/13/4 on 10-14 shooting. Not too shabby. Dov Rivers also had 18 assists. Ainge with an efficient 13/1/10, I can only imagine whats it must have felt like to be in the Garden that night.
Over the course of my life, Game 7s have been a mixed bag of results. The first one I ever remember was in 2005 in the first round against the Pacers. The Celts got their shit pumped in to the tune of 97-70 at home. Toine had 20, Pierce 19, and no other Celtic reached double figures. That was tough. Gary Payton, Ricky Davis, Al Jefferson, nobody did shit. Very annoying.
It didn't take long for things to change in 2008 when we had a couple more Game 7s. The first against the Hawks in the first round which was an absolutely wild series. Thankfully they pulled that Game 7 out in blowout fashion 99-65
Perk was a monster in that game with 10/10 and 5 blocks. A few rounds later we got to witness the epic LeBron vs Pierce Game 7, something that I was in the stands for and to this day was probably the best I've ever seen Pierce play
The next season it was right back to stress city with that epic first round series against the Bulls. Remember, at this time there was no KG due to injury and Derrick Rose was very much a problem. We were coming off that insane 3OT Game 6 and honestly that was a very stressful 109-99 win
Unfortunately things went south a few rounds later against the Magic with a blowout Game 7 loss 101-82. For sure the biggest "what if" season of that Big 3 era. Had KG not gotten hurt, they win the whole thing.
The hurt then kept coming, with the 2010 Finals. That's all I'm going to mention. Fuck that game. Fuck Ron Artest. Fuck Perk's blown ACL.
A few years went by and you'll never believe this but the Celts beat the Sixers again in the playoffs. No, it wasn't in the ECF, it was a Game 7 in the second round. Remember this is the Sixers we're talking about, they love losing in the second round.
But those good feelings were short lived, because after LeBron came into the Garden and put up the best performance of his entire career, they got their ass handed to them in Game 7 in MIA. Remember all those Bosh threes? What an asshole.
It would be another 5 seasons before we saw this team play in another Game 7, how could we forget the epic performance at home against the Wizards. That was another wild series where nobody wanted to win on the road. On this night Kelly Olynyk became a legend
The next season it was our first look and the new wave of Celtics basketball and how they would handle Game 7s. You may remember their comfortable win over the Bucks
Tatum had 20, Al and Terry each had 26, Aron Baynes a monster 8/7, it was awesome to see that underdog team pull it out. I should also mention that yes, once again they went on to beat the Sixers in the second round.
But then for what feels like the millionth time, LeBron got the last laugh. With a spot in the Finals on the line they couldn't even crack 80 points. For some reason they stopped giving Jayson Tatum the ball even after his dunk on LeBron and huge momentum three. Looking back that probably wasn't the best idea.
All in all since I became an actual human and not a toddler, I've witnessed 11 Celtics Game 7s with an overall 6-5 record. Over half of the Celts all time Game 7 losses have come in my lifetime, which isn't great! They are still the all time leader with 23 wins and have the best Game 7 winning percentage, but things have certainly not been ideal as of late. That's why I wish I had a functioning brain during the Bird era. They were 5-2 in Game 7s and gave us performances like that epic night in 1988. What a legend.