#TBT – Boston Celtics 1963 Championship


In 1962 the Boston Celtics took down the Los Angeles Lakers in what was the beginning of the greatest rivalry in Basketball. That series could not have been closer as the Lakers pushed the Celtics to the brink but nothing was going to get in their way in a game seven at home.

In 1963 a game seven was not needed. The Celtics won yet another championship, this time they took down the Lakers in six games. The fascinating part of the series is the Lakers actually outscored the Celtics. The Lakers had a series average of 113 points while the Celtics only had 111.

The Celtics got their scoring contributions from all over the place. Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Bill Russell all averaged over 20 points per game for the series and  another two added double digits. The Celtics needed great production from all of their guys in order to account for the torrid scoring by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West who put up 33.8 and 29.5 points per game.

The Celtics did not have any individual outscore either of the Lakers’ stars but their depth allowed them to take over. The Celtics also had something that nobody and nothing in the NBA could account for and that was 26 rebounds per game from Bill Russell. Baylor did a solid job collecting 15 per game but no one could compete with Russell and in the end he was the difference maker.

Boston opened up the series with a dramatic three point victory. Jones and Russell carried the load as the Celtics maintained their home court advantage. The Celtics followed that up with their most lopsided victory of the series by defeating the Lakers with a score of 113-106. The Celtics completely lost their form in game three as they suffered a 20 points blowout to the Lakers. West and Baylor were simply too much as they combined for 80 points.’

As great as the Lakers were in game three it was then it game four that the Celtics took a hold of the series as another three point victory gave them a three one series lead. The Lakers still had some fight in them as they forced a game 6, taking down the Celtics 126-119. Then, in game 6, the Celtics were once again crowned champions after a three point victory. It was a true team victory as no one scored more than 22 points and 6 difference players were in double digits.

After meeting in the finals in back to back seasons the hatred between the Lakers and the Celtics was beginning to grow into what is not the most hate filled rivalry in basketball. Two of the true legends of the game in Jerry West and Bill Russell were going head to head well before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were and they began and laid down the foundation of all the dramatic finals battles to come.

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