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Boston Celtics Head-To-Head Record Against Every NBA Team: Only The Spurs Have A Positive Record Against The Green

Boston Celtics Head-To-Head Record Against Every NBA Team: Only The Spurs Have A Positive Record Against The Green

When you think of one of the best teams in NBA history, who comes to mind? The Lakers are an immediate thought, while the Bulls, Spurs, and Warriors are also deserving of consideration. With that said, the Celtics are tied with the Lakers for the most championships in NBA history. When it comes to winning, it doesn’t get much better than the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics are a storied franchise. Winning is nearly synonymous with the franchise. When you look at their records against other teams, they are nearly perfect. With that said, these are the regular season and playoff records for the Celtics against every team in the NBA.

Atlanta Hawks 239-147 (Regular Season), 42-29 (NBA Playoffs)

The Hawks and the Celtics go way back. The series goes back to when the Hawks were playing as the Tri-City Blackhawks in 1949. Based on the record, for every two wins that the Celtics win, the Hawks snag one win themselves. The track record is consistent, even having Boston own a 100-50 record at one point.

Back in the day, the Hawks and Celtics met in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1958, 1960, and 1961. The Hawks won their appearance in 1959. Since then, they have been knocked out of the first round or second round. The 1958 Finals is the only series the Hawks have ever won against the Celtics in the playoffs.

Brooklyn Nets 134-73 (Regular Season), 3-12 (NBA Playoffs)

The Celtics didn’t start playing the Nets until the team transitioned from the ABA and were still part of New Jersey. At one point, the Celtics owned a 55-17 advantage during the Larry Bird-led 80s era. It didn’t get any better during the 90s and 2000s when the Celtics led 106-54, which included a 12-game winning streak at one point. From 2015 to 2019, the Celtics added a 10-game winning streak.

The Nets got the best of the Celtics in 2002 and 2003. On their way to the NBA Finals, the Nets bested the Celtics in each of those years. The teams met in the 2021 playoffs as well with Brooklyn defeating the Celtics in the first round. All in all, Boston has never beat Brooklyn in the playoffs.

Charlotte Hornets 70-45 (Regular Season), 1-3 (NBA Playoffs)

When the Hornets first entered the league, the Celtics won the first 10 games. That turned into an eventual 17-3 advantage during the start of the 90s. When the Hornets had some of their core pieces like Dell Curry, Alonzo Mourning, and Muggsy Bogues together, the Hornets fought all the way back to tie the series 23-23 in 2000. Since then, the series has remained fairly competitive outside of a seven-game winning streak in the mid-2010s.

The two teams haven’t met in the playoffs since 1993. The Hornets won the series with a 3-1 advantage. With both teams hovering around the play-in picture, we could see a Boston and Charlotte playoff series for the first time in 29 years in 2022.

Chicago Bulls 127-108 (Regular Season), 18-5 (NBA Playoffs)

Before Michael Jordan entered the league, the Celtics owned a 67-32 advantage. In the first two years of Jordan’s career, the Celtics defeated the Bulls 10 straight times. It wasn’t until the 1994-1995 season, which Jordan partially missed, all the way through 1997 that Chicago added a 10-game winning streak of their own. Since then, both teams have kept this as a competitive series.

The two teams have met in the playoffs five times and the Celtics have won all five times. The most memorable series likely came in 2009 when the eighth-seeded Bulls took the No. 1 seed Celtics to seven games. That included a three-overtime thriller by the Bulls in Game 6 to stay alive. That series is also the first time that the Bulls recorded a playoff win against Boston.

Cleveland Cavaliers 136-83 (Regular Season), 22-24 (NBA Playoffs)

At one point in history, the Celtics won 16 straight games against the Cavaliers. The Celtics owned a 58-20 advantage in the mid-80s. The Celtics added another 13-game winning streak in the early 2000s. Once LeBron James entered the league, he was able to lead the team to their best stretch with a seven-game winning streak from 2004 to 2007. From 2017 to 2020, the Celtics added a nine-game winning streak.

The Celtics and the Cavaliers have met quite frequently as of late. The team has met in the playoffs in 2008, 2010, 2015, 2017, and 2018. In 2017 and 2018, the Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in the Conference Finals, which included a seven-game series in 2018. Losses in 2015, 2017, and 2018 all came at the heels of LeBron James.

Dallas Mavericks 42-39 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

When Dallas came into the league in 1981, the Celtics won the first 11 matchups. By the end of the 80s, the Celtics had won 17 of the first 20 matchups. That success continued into the 2000s. It wasn’t until Dirk Nowitzki came to town before Dallas owned a six and seven-game winning streak. By 2016, the Mavericks tied the series 35-35. Between Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic, this will remain a competitive series.

The two teams have never met in the playoffs. With Boston being in the East, and Dallas in the West, the two teams would have to meet in the NBA Finals. Dallas has made the Finals twice, playing the Heat both times.

Denver Nuggets 58-37 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

The Celtics and the Nuggets were fairly competitive with each other until the mid-2000s when the Celtics began to pull away. By the end of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce era, the Celtics held about a 15-game advantage. Even with Nikola Jokic in town, the Celtics have always found a way to control the series.

Like the Mavericks, the Nuggets have never met the Celtics in the playoffs. The Nuggets have never made an NBA Finals, so it would be impossible for the two teams to have met. Maybe, it will in the future.

Detroit Pistons 245-140 (Regular Season), 24-21 (NBA Playoffs)

This series goes back to 1948 as the two staple franchises of the beginning of the NBA. The Celtics have handily won most of their meetings. The Celtics once won 17 straight games against the Pistons in the 50s. The Celtics added an 11-game winning streak in the 70s. The Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, and Rip Hamilton Detroit dynasty was Detroit’s only long success against Boston.

The two teams met in the 1987 and 1988 Conference Finals. The 1987 series went seven games with a win before Isiah Thomas led the team over the Celtics in 1988. Detroit followed that up with wins over Boston in 1990 and 1991. The Celtics got their revenge in 2008 when the team defeated Detroit in the Conference Finals.

Golden State Warriors 207-138 (Regular Season), 16-7 (NBA Playoffs0)

This series dates back to 1947 when the Warriors were playing in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until the middle 50s that the Celtis took control of this series. The Bill Russell years were really good to Boston as the team was able to break away. Then, Larry Bird led the Celtics to even more wins. By the end of the 80s, the Celtics held a 175-108 advantage. Even when the Warriors were at the top of their game with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, it didn’t matter. The Celtics have always had their way with Golden State.

The two teams have not met in the playoffs since 1964. Altogether, out of the four times, the Celtics have won all four playoff series. If the Celtics and Warriors ever meet in the NBA Finals, it would create numerous storylines.

Houston Rockets 94-55 (Regular Season), 16-5 (NBA Playoffs)

The Celtics opened up the series with 10 straight wins and won 31 of the first 40 meetings. By the end of the 70s, the Celtics owned a 40-game advantage on the team. By the mid-2000s, the Celtics owned an 82-39 record. From Hakeem Olajuwon to James Harden, Houston has never found a way to consistently beat Boston.

The Celtics met in the playoffs in 1975 and 1980 and defeated the Rockets in the semifinals. In 1981, the Rockets went to the Western Conference and made it to the NBA Finals. There, the team was defeated as Larry Bird won his first NBA championship. The two teams met in the 1986 NBA Finals, where Boston won again, cementing the perfect season for Bird.

Indiana Pacers 103-82 (Regular Season), 17-12 (NBA Playoffs)

There was a point in time when the Celtics owned a 30-game advantage, but Reggie Miller helped erase the deficit. By 2000, the Celtics were only up 10 games in the series. Since then, neither team has won more than five straight games against each other.

In the playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Pacers in the 1991, 1992, and 2003 playoffs. In 2004, the Pacers won their first series by sweeping Boston. The team was eliminated in 2005 the following year in seven games. In 2019, the Celtics swept Indiana in four games in the first round.

Los Angeles Clippers 91-45 (Regular Season), 8-4 (NBA Playoffs)

When the Clippers first entered the league, the Celtics defeated the team 22 straight times to own a 22-0 record. During the Bird years, the Celtics added an 11-game winning streak. The longest winning streak for the Clippers is four games. The Celtics have consistently taken care of business against this franchise.

The two teams met in 1974 and 1976 in the playoffs. Both times the Clippers were still based in Buffalo. The Celtics won both times and both were in six games. If the two teams ever meet again, it will come in the NBA Finals.

Los Angeles Lakers 163-133 (Regular Season), 43-31 (NBA Playoffs)

At one point during the 50s, the Celtics defeated the Lakers 19 straight times. After the Lakers halted the Celtics from winning 20 straight, they rattled off nine straight victories. This back and forth has featured headlining players, but at the end of the day, the Celtics have won 30 more games over the Lakers.

In the playoffs, this was sometimes an automatic NBA Finals. The two teams have met in the NBA Finals 12 times, which accounts for every time they have met in the playoffs. From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal, this is a storied back and forth matchup that was must-watch television.

Memphis Grizzlies 32-19 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

The Celtics and Grizzlies were fairly competitive up until the 2010s. Since 2015, the Celtics won 11 of the last 12 games, which featured a 10-game winning streak. The two teams face off just twice a year.

In the playoffs, the two teams would have to meet in the NBA Finals. The Grizzlies have never made the NBA Finals, so it would be a slim chance of happening soon. However, a Jayson Tatum and Ja Morant NBA Finals would be fun to watch.

Miami Heat 78-50 (Regular Season), 10-13 (NBA Playoffs)

The Celtics opened the series with 10 straight wins and 13 of the first 14 wins. However, during the 90s, the Heat rattled off a nine-game winning streak and pulled the series to 30-20 by 2000. Despite players like Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal, the Celtics maintained a competitive edge to nearly be up by 30 games in this series.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the Celtics and Heat became a fond rivalry. You had Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on one side and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the other. The Heat defeated the Celtics in 2011 and 2012 to make the Finals and the Celtics made the Finals in 2012 over Miami. This series ruined a friendship between Celtics players and Ray Allen, who eventually jumped ship to Miami to win another championship.

Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 (Regular Season), 21-18 (NBA Playoffs)

Thanks to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Bucks were able to muster an 11-game winning streak against the Celtics. Outside of that, the Celtics have used multiple mini-win steaks to take control of the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo has not found a way to successfully beat Boston, which is why the team owns a narrow lead.

The two teams met in the 1974 NBA Finals. The Celtics used seven games to deny Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson a chance to win their second title. Then, Larry Bird eliminated the Bucks in 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987. Outside of a 2019 win by Milwaukee, Boston has owned the Bucks number even when the series goes the distance.

Minnesota Timberwolves 41-21 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

It’s ironic that this series was competitive when Kevin Garnett played for the Timberwolves. Because once he left, it was game over. The Celtics began to win more and Minnesota began to tank, losing as many as 10 straight. Since 2016, Boston has won 10 of the last 11 meetings.

The two teams have never met in the playoffs. They will likely never meet if Minnesota keeps up the same trajectory. The two teams would have to meet in the NBA Finals. That seems very unlikely anytime soon.

New Orleans Pelicans 22-21 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

What if we told you that one of the most competitive series in Celtics franchise history was with New Orleans? This has consistently been a back-and-forth matchup. The longest winning streak between both teams is four games. From Chris Paul to Anthony Davis, the Celtics can’t figure out New Orleans.

The two teams have never met in the playoffs. New Orleans has never made the NBA Finals, which is how the two teams would meet. If that happened, history shows that it would probably be a seven-game series.

New York Knicks 299-186 (Regular Season), 36-31 (NBA Playoffs)

The Knicks and Celtics have already fulfilled their obligation to play each other this year. When the two teams play each other next year, the Celtics will have a chance to win their 300th game against New York. Believe it or not, the Knicks once beat the Celtics 21 straight times during the 90s with Patrick Ewing leading the way.

In 1951, 1952, and 1953, the Knicks met the Celtics and eliminated the team. In 1972, 1973, and 1974, the Knicks and Celtics met in the Conference Finals. The Knicks won in 1973 on their way to winning the NBA championship. The Celtics won both appearances in the 80s and once in 2011. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to the second round in 2013 with a win over Boston.

Oklahoma City Thunder 76-64 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

The longest winning streak by the Celtics is six games. The longest winning streak by the Thunder is six games. These two teams have kept it close but the Celtics maintain the edge for now.

The two teams have not met in the playoffs. The Thunder, once known as the Seattle SuperSonics, are in the Western Conference. The two teams have never met in the playoffs, specifically the NBA Finals.

Orlando Magic 72-51 (Regular Season), 8-9 (NBA Playoffs)

Once Shaquille O’Neal was drafted by the Magic, this became a tough series. Even when he left, the series remained tough. The two teams were tied at 21-21 in 2001. After a back-and-forth, the Celtics won 10 straight from 2011 to 2013 to break away. Since then, the Celtics have added two six-game winning streaks, and have won the last nine games against Orlando.

In the playoffs, the Celtics have lost more games than won. In 1995, the Magic won their series and then won again in 2009 when Orlando made the NBA Finals. In 2010, Dwight Howard nearly led the Magic back to the NBA Finals but was denied by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen in six games.

Philadelphia 76ers 264-195 (Regular Season), 62-47 (NBA Playoffs)

This series dates back to when the 76ers were playing in Syracuse. It wasn’t until 1958 that the Celtics brought the series record to .500. Thanks to some strong Bob Cousy and Bill Russell years, the Celtics pulled away in the 50s and 60s. Then, from 1971 to 1974, the Celtics won 20 straight meetings. The Celtics added an 11-game winning streak in the 2010s as well.

These two are frequent foes in the playoffs. It would take some time to talk about all their meetings, but here is what we know. The two teams met in the Conference Finals in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1985. The two teams split the series as these were intense playoff contests.

Phoenix Suns 74-59 (Regular Season), 4-2 (NBA Playoffs)

There is no long winning streak from Boston in this series. The Celtics have consistently grinded out wins with the longest winning streak being eight games in the 80s. The two teams don't meet very often, so it’s understandable if the two teams often split games.

The two teams have met once in NBA history. The 1976 NBA Finals featured the Celtics and Suns. The series went six games, but the Celtics came out on top. The Suns remain without an NBA championship.

Portland Trail Blazers 71-49 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

From 1971 to 1975, the Celtics won 17 straight games. In the early 90s, the team owned a 42-22 record. From Clyde Drexler to Damian Lillard, the Celtics have always found a way to win against Portland. The team has never found a way to consistently beat Boston.

The two teams have never met in the playoffs. When Portland formed their contending team in the 90s, Bird was past his prime and ready to be out of the league. The Celtics were not well-rounded contenders in the 90s. Their contention time was off. Maybe one day we will see these two teams in the NBA Finals.

Sacramento Kings 187-119 (Regular Season), 11-6 (NBA Playoffs)

The Royals once held a competitive advantage up to 1958. However, even with Oscar Robertson, the Celtics won 13 straight games. Bill Russell was Robertson’s nemesis, which prevented Cincy from making the NBA Finals. Even today, the Celtics are often winners when it comes to games against the Kings.

The two teams have not met in the playoffs since the Oscar Robertson days. The two teams met in 1963, 1964, and 1966. Each time, the Celtics came out on top. When it is all said and one, Russell owns Robertson’s number.

San Antonio Spurs 41-58 (Regular Season), 2-0 (NBA Playoffs)

If there is one team that does own the Celtics, it is the Spurs. The series was tied in 1981 at 10 wins each. After the 80s, the Celtics held the advantage. Then, a man named Tim Duncan led the Spurs and he led the team to a competitive advantage all the way through his retirement. That included a combined 11-game winning streak led by him and Kahwi Leonard.

The two teams met in 1977 in a best of three series. The Celtics won both games. We can all agree that the Celtics and Spurs should have met in the NBA Finals just once. A Duncan versus Garnett matchup would have been glorious.

Toronto Raptors 62-41 (Regular Season), 4-3 (NBA Playoffs)

From 2007 to 2010, the Celtics won eight straight. Outside of that, the longest winning streak by Boston is four games. The Celtics have just won more than often. The Raptors have won five straight games one time. Other than that, this has been controlled by Boston.

The two teams have met in the playoffs one time. It was recent too. The two teams met in the 2020 semifinals and the series went seven games. After winning in 2019, the Raptors tried to run it back without Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors nearly pulled it off but lost a 92-87 Game 7.

Utah Jazz 58-45 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)

Even with Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Jazz could never climb back to a competitive advantage in this series. That includes a 14-game losing streak to the Jazz in the 90s. The Jazz have never led Boston in this series. That is a telling story when you look at the history of these two teams.

In the playoffs, the two teams have never met. The Jazz have only made the NBA Finals two times in franchise history. In the 90s, the Celtics were not a contender. However, Jazz is on the rise. The Celtics have an interesting team. Maybe, this could be a future 2020s NBA Finals.

Washington Wizards 195-119 (Regular Season), 13-9 (NBA Playoffs)

This series goes back to when the Wizards were considered the Chicago Packers and the Chicago Zephyrs. The Celtics were 26-3 at one point. That included winning 40 of the first 50 games. That grew to 60-27 in 1971. This has never been a competitive series in the regular season. By 2024, the Celtics could own 200 wins over Washington.

The Wizards own one series win, which came in 1975 when the team was known as the Bullets. In the 80s, the Celtics beat them in 1982 and 1984. They didn't play until 2017 when the two teams met again. It was the best modern-day season for Washington, but the Celtics eliminated the team in seven games. 


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