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Larry Bird's Stats For Each Season: Consistency Was The Key, He Dominated In His Own Way

Larry Bird's Stats For Each Season: Consistency Was The Key, He Dominated In His Own Way

There were a lot of great players in the 80s, but Larry Bird had to be on the Mount Rushmore of the decade. He remains the last player to record the MVP Award for three consecutive seasons. During the 80s, it was either the Lakers or the Celtics in the NBA Finals. The main reason the Celtics were able to sustain a long run of success was because of Bird.

Bird was a Swiss army knife. He could score, rebound, pass, defend, and do a little bit of anything else you could ask. He had the ability to play the small and power forward positions. Some believe that he is the greatest small forward to ever play in the NBA. He was also one of the first players to take advantage of the three-point line. In the end, he remains one of the all-time greats. His stats back up that statement as well.

These are Bird’s stats and achievements season by season.


1979-80 NBA Season

Stats: 21.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team

Bird was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft. He chose to play out his final season at Indiana State, so he played the following season. The Celtics won 32 more games than the previous season and it was the initial stages of the Celtics transforming into a title contender yearly.

In his first game, Bird recorded a double-double against the Rockets. Just a few weeks later, he recorded his first triple-double of his career with 23 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists in a win over the Pistons. Nine days later, he recorded his first 30-point game. With his averages, he won Rookie of the Year. The Celtics made the Conference Finals before losing to the 76ers.


1980-81 NBA Season

Stats: 21.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Awards And Achievements: NBA Champion, All-Star, All-NBA First Team

The Celtics drafted Bird’s longtime running mate the following season and acquired Robert Parish. The trio became a dangerous big three that helped the Celtics stay competitive in the NBA. With the upgraded roster, the Celtics advanced to the Conference Finals again to play the 76ers.

The Celtics trailed 3-1 in the series but won the next three games to play the Rockets in the NBA Finals. Bird averaged 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in the NBA Finals. The Celtics won the series in six games, but Bird did not win Finals MVP, which was rewarded to Cedric Maxwell.


1981-82 NBA Season

Stats: 22.9 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive Second Team

At the All-Star Game, Bird won his first MVP after scoring 19 points. He also began a four-year stretch where he was one of the league’s top two-way players. It was the first All-Defensive honor for Bird, on top of averaging nearly 23 points per game. Bird finished runner-up in the MVP voting as well.

Moses Malone won the MVP Award and also got the best of Bird in the postseason. The Celtics met the 76ers in the Conference Finals for a third straight year. The series stretched to seven games for consecutive playoffs, but it was the 76ers that pulled out the Game 7 win.


1982-83 NBA Season

Stats: 23.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive Second Team

Among his accomplishments, Bird set the new single-game franchise record for points. Bird scored 53 points against the Indiana Pacers, which broke Sam Jones’ record set in 1965. Bird finished second in the MVP voting to Malone and was unable to lead the Celtics back to the Conference Finals. The team was defeated in the semifinals by the Milwaukee Bucks.

This season was a precursor for a string of successes that no other player has matched in league history. Bird remained a top player in the league, securing All-NBA and All-Defensive team honors again. With that said, the following three years were legendary.


1983-84 NBA Season

Stats: 24.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Awards And Achievements: NBA Champion, Finals MVP, MVP Award, All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive Second Team

Bird had a perfect season where he won the championship, won Finals MVP, and the MVP Award. He also secured All-NBA and All-Defensive Team status. He was the league’s best player after years of looking up to Malone. This time, he could say he was truly the best player in the league from start to finish.

In the playoffs, the Bucks defeated the Bucks in the Conference Finals to set up a showdown with the Lakers in the NBA Finals. It was a great storyline as Magic Johnson and Bird were former college rivals. The series stretched to seven games. Bird averaged 27.4 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in the series.


1984-85 NBA Season

Stats: 28.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Awards And Achievements: MVP, All-Star, All-NBA First Team

For the second year in a row, Bird received the MVP Award. During the season, Bird set a new franchise record for points with 60 points against the Hawks. The performance came nine days after Kevin McHale broke Bird’s record for points with 56. Instead, Bird came back and beat the record over his longtime teammate.

Bird led the Celtics to another deep playoff run. The Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals to set up a rematch with the Lakers. The Celtics were unable to repeat as champions. The Lakers ultimately won the series in six games.


1985-86 NBA Season

Stats: 25.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Awards And Achievements: NBA Champion, Finals MVP, MVP, All-Star, All-NBA First Team, Three-Point Contest Champion

Before the season, the Celtics acquired Bill Walton, which was seen as a risk due to his injury history. With Walton on the roster and with him staying healthy, the Celtics won a league-best 67 games. The season saw a lot of ups. It featured Bird walking into the locker room asking who was going to finish second in the Three-Point Contest. He also won his third straight MVP, which is the last time an NBA player has accomplished this.

In the playoffs, the Bird lost just one game in the first three rounds. It set up an NBA Finals with the Houston Rockets. The Celtics won the series in six games. Bird averaged 24.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in the Finals on his way to winning Finals MVP. The team remains one of the greatest overall teams in the history of the NBA.


1986-87 NBA Season

Stats: 28.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 7.6 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, Three-Point Contest Champion, 50-40-90 Club

The season saw Bird make the 50-40-90 Club for the first time in his career. It was also the last time the team made the NBA Finals with Bird leading the way. With that said, Bird was an All-Star and defended his title as Three-Point Contest Champion. The swagger from Bird remained in full force.

In the playoffs, the Celtics took on a very tough Detroit Pistons team in the Conference Finals. With five seconds left in Game 5, Bird’s pass to Dennis Johnson to set up the game-winner saved the series. It remains an iconic play that helped the Celtics make the NBA Finals. However, the Celtics faced too many injuries and the Lakers, who had won 65 games, were healthy and better on paper. Bird averaged 24.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in the Finals, but the Celtics lost in six games.


1987-88 NBA Season

Stats: 29.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, Three-Point Contest Champion, 50-40-90 Club

Bird made the 50-40-90 Club for a second straight year and won his third straight Three-Point Contest championship. However, Bird’s individual success was marred by the Celtics not making the NBA Finals. With the Celtics out of the championship, it marked the first time in five years the Celtics didn’t make it.

The playoffs saw some testy times. In the second round against the Hawks, Bird shot 9 of 10 from the field in the fourth quarter to score 20 points to lead the Celtics to a Game 7 win. It helped the Celtics overcome 47 points from Dominique Wilkins. It set up a rematch with the Pistons in the Conference Finals, where the Pistons won in six games.


1988-89 NBA Season

Stats: 19.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Awards And Achievements: None

The season for Bird was limited to six games. Bird had to undergo surgery for bone spurs in both of his heels. He returned to the team later in the season but also had back problems as well. With the Celtics owning a roster that was aging, he did not come back.

In a way, this season started at the beginning of an end. The injuries to Bird did not necessarily end his career, but they made it difficult for Bird to regain his superstar form. Bird would remain an All-Star player after he was back and healthy.


1989-90 NBA Season

Stats: 24.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team

With Bird back in the fold, the Celtics returned to the playoffs with hopes of a deep run. The team hovered around .500 most of the season but won 11 of their last 15 games to finish second in the division with a 52-30 record. The team made the playoffs for an 11th straight season.

Bird and McHale remained a dangerous duo, each averaging over 20 points per game. Parish averaged a double-double and remained a defensive force. All three were named to the All-Star Game. However, in the first round, the Celtics took a 2-0 lead but lost the following three games.


1990-91 NBA Season

Stats: 19.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star

The Celtics started the season 29-5, but Bird had to miss 22 games due to a compressed nerve root in his back. This injury was the main reason for his retirement after the following season. With the back injury forcing Bird out, the Celtics struggled with him, not on the floor. The Celtics did finish with 56 wins, which was good enough for the No. 2 seed.

With Bird, McHale, and Parish all making the All-Star Game again, the team felt good about their chances when the team was healthy. Bird ultimately finished ninth in the MVP voting, while McHale was sixth in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. The Celtics avoided an upset bid by the Pacers and won the full five games. In the semifinals, the Celtics missed Bird in Game 1, where Detroit won. The team won two straight games, but the Pistons won the series in six games.


1991-92 NBA Season

Stats: 20.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 6.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Awards And Achievements: All-Star

Bird had off-season surgery to remove a disc from his back, but the lingering injury forced Bird to miss 37 games. Despite facing adversity, the Celtics were able to win the Atlantic Division and finished with a 51-31 record. The Celtics were the No. 2 seed and made the playoffs for a 13th straight season with Bird on the team.

When healthy, Bird looked vintage. He scored 49 points in a double-overtime win over the Trail Blazers. He was selected to the All-Star Game but didn’t play due to a back injury. In the playoffs, the Celtics swept the Pacers in the first round and took a 2-1 series lead over the Cavaliers in the semifinals. Ultimately, the Cavaliers rallied to win the series in seven games, which ended their career of Bird.


Career Resume

Stats: 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Awards: 3x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 3x MVP, 12x All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, 9x All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Second Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, 2x 50-40-90 Club

Bird has been voted to both the 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. When media outlets conduct their all-time great lists, Bird is spotted on those lists every time. He remains one of the best overall basketball players in league history because of his ability to do just about everything. He made scoring look effortless, while his rebounding, playmaking, and defense are not talked about enough.

Bird won the MVP award three times but also was runner-up four times. When it comes to the 80s decade, he is in the conversation for the best overall player. Among his other stats, he averaged a career shooting percentage of 49.6% and shot 88.6% from the free-throw line. His nickname “Larry Legend” suits him as he remains one of the most legendary players of all time. 

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