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NBA Playoffs Game 7 History: The Boston Celtics Have The Most Wins

NBA Playoffs Game 7 History: The Boston Celtics Have The Most Wins

The NBA playoffs are in full effect and the excitement just continues to grow. What're the most exciting two words in sports? Game 7. That's what.

This past Sunday the NBA saw two Game 7s. Both games ended up being blowouts. There was a surprising upset by the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks over the best team in the league, the Phoenix Suns.

There was also a game in the East. The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks were in Boston, taking on the Celtics.

The C's ran away with the game in the second half, defeating the Bucks, 109-81. This became the Celtics' 25th Game 7 victory, the most in league history.


The Celtics Are The Kings Of The Game 7

The Boston Celtics are one of the most celebrated franchises in the league with 17 championships, which is tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in NBA history. The Celtics have not only won the most Game 7s, but they've also played in the most (34).

Here is the history of Game 7s featuring the Boston Celtics:


1957 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks

The first Game 7 in the Cs history came in their first NBA Finals against the St. Louis Hawks. Bill Russell was leading the way for the Celtics on the defensive end and they would need him in the Game 7.

The game was played in Boston, and it went into two overtimes before the Celtics finally pulled it out. They won 125-123. Russell finished the game with 19 points and 32 rebounds.

The star for the Celtics in this Game 7 was Tom Heinsohn. He scored 37 points while grabbing 23 rebounds.

The Celtics were NBA champions, and they were Game 7 winners. These both would become habits for the franchise that plays in Boston.


1959 Eastern Division Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Syracuse Nationals

The second Game 7 in Celtics history was also a home game, and once again, the Celtics would come out on top. The number one seed Celtics defeated the third seed Nationals 130-125.

Russell, once again, was a monster on the boards. He grabbed 32 rebounds while chipping in 18 points. Bob Cousy was the high man in points for the C's with 25.

The Celtics would go on to win their second championship in three years by sweeping (4-0) the Minneapolis Lakers in the NBA Finals.


1960 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks

The next year, the Celtics found themselves back in the NBA Finals and back in a Game 7. Once again; the Celtics had the home court advantage, which would help them in Game 7.

The Celtics squared off against the St. Louis Hawks once again and again, they'd win the championship in Game 7. The difference this time around was that the game wouldn't be close.

The Celtics won 122-103. Bill Russell was dominant again on the boards, grabbing 35 rebounds while adding 22 points.

This time, they got an unlikely boost from Frank Ramsey, who led the game in scoring with 24 points. The Celtics were now 3-0 in Game 7s for their history.


1962 Eastern Division Finals And NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics found themselves in two Game 7s during the 1962 NBA playoffs. The first came in the Division Finals against the Philadelphia Warriors.

Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell's rivalry would go to seven games for the first time in 1962 as Chamberlain led his second-seeded Philadelphia Warriors into a Game 7 vs. Russell's Celtics.

The game was once again played in Boston, and the outcome would follow suit with the previous Game 7s. The Celtics won 109-107 over the Warriors.

Chamberlain had his worst scoring game of the series with 22 points but he did add 22 rebounds. Russell scored 19 points while grabbing 22 rebounds.

The Celtics were led by the sharpshooting Sam Jones who scored 28 points. The Celtics were now 4-0 in Game 7s.

The Celtics didn't have to wait long to play in their next Game 7. The Lakers now played in Los Angeles, and their rivalry would start off on the right foot.

The second Game 7 for the Celtics in the 1962 playoffs would be another close game. The Celtics won 110-107.

Bill Russell had his best Game 7 yet with 30 points and 40 rebounds to lead the Celtics to their fourth consecutive championship.


1963 Eastern Division Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Cincinnati Royals

The Boston Celtics of the 1960s found themselves in many Game 7s. This time they'd face the third-seeded Cincinnati Royals in the Division Finals.

The Celtics held the top seed, which means Game 7 would be held in Boston, once again. Sam Jones would outduel the great Oscar Robinson by scoring 47 points on 18-27 shooting.

Bill Russell would have, yet again, another great Game 7. He scored 20 points while grabbing 24 rebounds. The Celtics were now 6-0 in Game 7s.


1965 Eastern Division Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain would find themselves in another Game 7 in 1965. This time, Chamberlain was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, but this team change wouldn't change the outcome.

The Celtics won Game 7 by a score of 110-109, thanks to John Havlicek's famous steal that helped to seal the victory.

The Celtics improved to 7-0 in Game 7s. The game was played in Boston yet again, and Sam Jones would lead the C's with 37 points.

Russell would add 29 more rebounds and 15 points as the Celtics' balanced attack overcame Chamberlain's 30 points and 32 rebounds. The Celtics would go on to win their seventh straight title.


1966 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Celtics/Lakers rivalry was renewed in the 1966 NBA Finals. The series went seven games and Game 7 would be played in Boston.

The Celtics would be involved in another close Game 7, and they'd win again; the Celtics won 95-93. Russell would lead the C's in scoring with 25 while grabbing 32 rebounds.


1968 Eastern Division Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain would find themselves in yet again, another Game 7 battle. The difference this time was, the Celtics were on the road.

Despite playing Game 7 in Philadelphia, the Celtics still managed to win 100-96. Russell only scored 12, but he did add 26 rebounds.

Chamberlain had an uncharacteristic game on the offensive side of the ball. He only scored 14 points.

The Celtics were champions once again, after losing the 1967 NBA Finals. The C's Game 7 record improved to 9-0.


1969 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The 1969 NBA season would be the last for Bill Russell and what better way to go out than a Game 7 victory of Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers?

The Celtics weren't themselves this season, only finishing with a 48-34 record. This was only good enough to give them the fourth seed.

It wouldn't matter for the Celtics, as they won 108-106 in Game 7 over the Lakers. The Cs overcame 42 points from Jerry West and 27 rebounds from Chamberlain to win their 11th championship in 13th years.


1973 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks

The Boston Celtics would find themselves in their first Game 7 in four years. This time, Bill Russell wouldn't be there to lead the team.

The Celtics would look different from their former selves, as they'd lose their first Game 7 by a score of 94-78 to the New York Knicks. What made it worse was the fact the game was played in Boston.


1974 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The Celtics returned to their championship roots the year after losing their first Game 7 as they faced off against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his Milwaukee Bucks. The game was played in Milwaukee, but it didn't matter as Dave Cowens put the C's on his back.

Cowens scored 28 points while adding 14 rebounds in the Celtics' 102-87 victory. The C's' Game 7 record was now 11-1.


1977 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Boston Celtics were the fourth seed in the 1977 NBA playoffs. They'd face off against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Celtics wouldn't have enough firepower as they lost 83-77 in Game 7, which was played in Philadelphia. The Celtics' Game 7 record fell to 11-2.


1981 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Celtics would wait four years before returning to a Game 7. Once again, they'd play the Philadelphia 76ers. This time the Celtics had Larry Bird, and he'd be the difference-maker.

Bird scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while adding 5 assists and 5 steals. The Celtics held on to win the game 91-90.


1982 Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The very next year, the Celtics and 76ers would meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. This time, the 76ers would get the best of the Celtics.

The 76ers walked into Boston and came away with a 120-106 victory. Larry Bird struggled to score, finishing with 20 points on 7-18 shooting, as the Celtics fell to 13-2 in Game 7s.


1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals And NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics played in two Game 7s during the 1984 playoffs. First, they played the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the Celtics, led by Bird's 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, won 121-104.

Then, the Celtics went to a Game 7 in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Larry Bird and Magic Johnson rivalry was in full effect, and a Game 7 would only enhance it.

The Celtics held the home court advantage, and they'd use it in their favor. The Celtics won 111-102, giving them their 15th championship.


1987 Eastern Conference Semifinals And Eastern Conference Finals

The 1987 NBA playoffs saw two more Game 7s featuring the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics. First, the Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 119-113, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The C's played the Detroit Pistons, and they'd win 117-114 in Game 7. This improved the Celtics' Game 7 record to 16-3.


1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Boston Celtics vs the Atlanta Hawks Game 7 in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals saw one of the greatest duels in NBA playoff history.

Larry Bird went toe to toe with Dominique Wilkins in Game 7. Bird scored 34 while Wilkins scored 47.

Despite Wilkins' incredible performance, the Celtics held on to win the game 118-116. The Celtics once again proved home court advantage was crucial in a Game 7.


1992 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The 1992 NBA season would be a sad one for Boston Celtics fans. It was Larry Bird's last year, as his ailing back was too much to handle anymore.

The Celtics made the semifinals but would lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 by a score of 122-104. Bird scored 12 points on 6-9 in what would be his last NBA game.


2005 Eastern Conference First Round: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers

It would take 13 years before the NBA would see the Boston Celtics back in a Game 7. This time, it would be in the opening round of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics were now led by Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, and they faced a Pacers team that went through massive suspensions from a brawl in Detroit at the beginning of the season.

Reggie Miller was in the last year of his career and he'd be a non-factor on Game 7 scoring only 5 points... This didn't matter, though. The Pacers steamrolled over the Celtics, winning 97-70.

Pierce scored 19 and Walker added 20, but they'd get no help in the game. The Celtics were embarrassed on their home court in Game 7, dropping their Game 7 record to 17-5.


2008 Eastern Conference First Round And Eastern Conference Semifinals

The new-look Boston Celtics, which featured Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, saw themselves in two Game 7s during the 2008 NBA playoffs.

First, the Celtics blew the Atlanta Hawks out in the opening round by a score of 99-65. Then, they'd be pushed harder in the Conference Semifinals against the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

Game 7 of the 2008 Semifinals was reminiscent of Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks in 1988. Paul Pierce battled LeBron James.

Pierce finished with 41 and James scored 45. James won the scoring battle, but the C's won the game 97-92.


2009 Eastern Conference First Round And Eastern Conference Semifinals

The Celtics ended up playing on two more Game 7s the next season in 2009. First, the C's defeated the Chicago Bulls in seven games in the opening round. They won 109-99.

The next round they'd play in another Game 7, but this time, they'd lose. The Orlando Magic would defeat the Celtics by a score of 101-82.


2010 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs.  Los Angeles Lakers

The 2010 NBA Finals would be the final time (as of now) that the Boston Celtics would play the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. The series, of course, would go seven games.

The Celtics still had their core “Big 3” with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen. The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant.

Game 7 was ugly. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball, but the Lakers would pull it out in the end. The Lakers won 83-79, and this basically ended the Celtics' “Big 3” championship chances.


2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals And Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics still had their “Big 3” but they weren't quite the same team as they were in 2010. The Cs would win their Game 7 in the Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers by a score of 85-75.

The Celtics would play against LeBron James in another Game 7. This time, James was a member of the Miami Heat, who had their own “Big 3”.

The Miami Heat proved their “Big 3” was on another level than the Cs aging “Big 3”. The Heat won 101-88 over the Celtics in Game 7, dropping the C's Game 7 record to 21-8.


2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards

The 2017 Boston Celtics were led by their young star, Isaiah Thomas. They were looking to get back their championship ways, but before they could do that, they needed to get back to winning Game 7s.

The C's would return to their old ways by defeating the Wizards 115-105 in Game 7. The Celtics were led by Thomas, who scored 29 points while handing out 12 assists.


2018 Eastern Conference First Round And Eastern Conference Finals

A year later, the Celtics looked a little different. They no longer had Isaiah Thomas, as they traded him away for Kyrie Irving.

By the time the playoffs rolled around, Irving was out from having knee surgery. So, the Celtics were led by a rookie named Jayson Tatum.

The C's held the home-court advantage, and they made the most of it by defeating the young Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 112-96.

The Celtics would find themselves in another Game 7 just two series later. Again, the C's had to face LeBron James, who returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics held the home-court advantage as they did against the Bucks, but the outcome would be different. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics by a score of 87-79.


2020 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 shook the entire sports world. This included the NBA shutting the season down in March and restarting in July.

The NBA playoffs were played in the Orlando “Bubble”, as they called it, and the Celtics would participate. In the Semifinals, the Celtics played the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors held the “home court” advantage, but it didn't matter since all the games were played in Orlando, with no fans. The C's took advantage of the atmosphere and they won Game 7 by a score of 92-87.

The Celtics' young star, Jayson Tatum, was really coming into his own. He scored 29 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and handed out 7 assists in Game 7.


2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

This past weekend gave us the latest Game 7 from the Boston Celtics. Jayson Tatum played great for the C's scoring 23 points in Game 7. But Tatum wouldn't be the star in this game.

This title belongs to Grant Williams who led all scorers with 27 points. Williams shot 10-22 from the field and 7-18 from the arc.

The Celtics won the game 109-81, and they set a Game 7 record with 22 three-pointers made. The Cs Game 7 record is now 25-9, which is the most wins in a Game 7 by any NBA franchise.

The Celtics continue to prove why they are one of the greatest franchises, not just in the NBA, but in all sports.

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