#TBT – Boston Celtics 1960 Championship


With the new decade ushered in the Boston Celtics‘ dynasty was just beginning. The rivalry against the St. Louis Hawks was further intensified as they had yet another seven game finals series.

1960 is also the season when Bill Russell truly took over the team. In previous seasons Russell was never the leading scorer but in 1960 he started closing the scoring gap as his 18.2 points per game were only 3.5 points pee game off of Tom Heinsohn‘s team high.

And, of course, the rebounding numbers continue to look more and more absurd and he carried the team with 24 rebounds per game, 14 more than the next closest and this was in fact the first time Russell had a teammate that averaged double digit rebounds as Heinsohn also brought in 10.6 per game.

The Celtics had another dominant regular season as they finished with the best record, the number one pace and the number one defensive rating (I mean it would be difficult to not have that with Russell on your squad).

In the final series against the Hawks, the Celtics played more like a team than ever before. Russell kept around his season averages putting up 16.7 points and 24.9 rebounds per game. Russell was one of five players to average over 14 points per game and there were three others that managed to put up over 15 points per game.

After getting a sweep the previous year the Hawks gave the Celtics one of their most competitive series’ ever. The teams traded games, with no one ever winning two in a row. The series also featured all the scoring you could ask for as both teams eclipsed the 100 point mark in every game except for one, as the Hawks scored just 86 points in game three.

The Celtics also managed to score over 120 points on three different occasions and considering the team did not have anyone average over 22 points per game, their depth was on full display.

Even though the series could not look more even, trading games in a seven game series, there were still a lot of blowouts. The Celtics came out the gate with a 140 point onslaught, beating the Hawks by 18 points. that was just the first of 6 games that were all decided by at least 10 points. The lone single digit difference was in game six when the Hawks won with a score of 105-102.

The Celtics did not have a single player score 20 points in that three point loss but they made up for it back at home in game seven. The Celtics lost the heartbreaker but they relied on the best home court advantage in the NBA and secured a 122-103 victory.

That game seven can also be seen one one of the most definitive moments in Bill Russell’s career. In the biggest game, when it mattered most, Russell took over the game and no one had any hope of standing in his way. Russell was tied for a game high 22 points and he took over the game with his 35 rebounds, 22 more than anyone else.

by 1960, when the Celtics won their third championship and the second of a back to back it started to become clear that the Celtics had built a dynasty. As great as the Celtics had already been, that was only the beginning of the most dominant team of all time.

More from Hardwood Houdini