HH Tournament: (7) Dennis Johnson vs (10) Reggie Lewis

Apr 24, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of TD Garden prior to the first round of the NBA Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of TD Garden prior to the first round of the NBA Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Dennis Johnson and Reggie Lewis are the final matchup on Side A for the first round

Bob Cousy ran away with the first round matchup yesterday and will face the winner of Dennis Johnson and Reggie Lewis. This will conclude Side A’s first round, and we will start with Side B next before heading to the second round matchups.

Don’t forget that this is based solely off their playing careers with the Boston Celtics. Any coaching or front office experience shouldn’t be taken into account, neither should their collegiate careers or any other NBA teams they may have played for.

Dennis Johnson – 2010 Hall of Fame Inductee

12.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 1.2 SPG

7 Seasons with Boston, 2x Champion, 1x All-Star, #3 Retired by the Celtics

Dennis Johnson was part of the historic 1985-86 Boston Celtics, and was one of the best defensive guards of his era. He never averaged less than 1.1 steals per game with the Celtics and was a big reason they won the 1984 NBA Finals.

He took on the tough duty of guarding Magic Johnson, holding him to under 17 points per game in the final four games of the seven game series. It was his first season with the Celtics, which ended with a championship and Johnson being named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. It was the first of four straight Defensive Team selections for Johnson, which also included being named to the First Team once.

In 1985-86 playoffs, Johnson averaged a ridiculous 2.2 steals per game to go along with 16.2 points and 5.9 assists per game. He can be overlooked on that dominating team, but his dominance during that playoff run was impressive nonetheless, and it cemented him as one of the best defensive guards of his era.

Besides defense, Johnson was a typical pure point guard. He looked to pass more often than shoot, and averaged at least six assists per game in five of his seven seasons in Boston. Although, he still managed to average double-digit points during his first six seasons with the Celtics. However, with the star-studded roster that included Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, dishing out assists was more beneficial than looking for his shot.

Johnson currently ranks eighth in assists and steals, and tenth in free-throw percentage in Celtics history.

Dennis Johnson will be remembered as one of the best defensive point guards the league has ever seen. He was a part of one of the best starting lineups the league has ever seen, and his unselfish game fit perfectly with the rest of the Celtics’ star-studded roster.

Reggie Lewis – 1992 All-Star

17.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG

6 Seasons with Boston, 1x All-Star, #35 Retired by Boston Celtics

Reggie Lewis was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 22nd pick in 1987, just a year after they drafted Len Bias. Sadly, like Bias, Lewis passed away at too young of an age. Lewis was 27-years-old and collapsed in the middle of an offseason scrimmage and suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a tragic end to a life as Lewis was viewed as a great person and was just starting to hit his prime as a basketball player.

On the basketball court, Lewis struggled to find minutes as a rookie. He only saw 8.3 minutes per game as a rookie, but an injury to Larry Bird during his second season opened the door for Lewis. He averaged 32.8 minutes per game and contributed 18.5 points and 1.5 steals per game as a second-year player.

He stuck in the rotation after that season as he saw at least 35 minutes per game in each of his final three seasons. The increased role led to more production from the guard. He wasn’t a great outside shooter as he never developed a consistent three-point shot, although he still managed to score 20.8 points per game in each of his final two seasons.

His 20.8 points on a career-best 50.3 percent shooting, with 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, led to his lone All-Star appearance. His solid all-around game was recognized, and it led to him seeing a career-high 39.3 minutes per night in 1992-93.

Learning from a great like Larry Bird definitely helped the young Reggie Lewis, although he will be remembered as one of the biggest “what if” stories in NBA history. He had many more All-Star potential seasons left as he just started hitting his stride on offense, and his ability to create turnovers and block shots was a rare package not found in many shooting guards.

In fact, Lewis averaged at least one block per game in his final three seasons. It led him to ranking seventh in blocks and ninth in steals in Celtics history. He had a chance to rank top-five in each, and possibly sneak into the top-10 for Celtics scoring.

One of the biggest “what if” stories in NBA history, but Reggie Lewis was truly dominating during the few years he played in his prime. He was an outstanding all-around player who could score, create turnovers and block shots.

Don’t forget to vote on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics! The poll is up for 20 hours. Comments on here don’t count as votes, only the poll on Twitter will be looked at to determine who goes on to round two.

Next: Kris Humphries is the Greatest Swimmer of All-Time?

Also, look at tomorrow’s match-up to see the results from today’s showdown.