Quick Intro: Knicks vs Celtics History
Of the many rivalries between the cities of Boston and New York, the competition between their basketball teams is one of the most intense, as this primer on New York Knicks versus Boston Celtics history shows. The two teams have waged great and memorable games during both the regular season and playoffs, with the Celtics typically coming out on top. In terms of success, though, there's been no contest. The Celtics have won several more NBA championships than theKnicks. Still, this hasn't dampened the intensity shown in these classic moments in the history of the Knicks versus Celtics.
Christmas Day, 1985. Midway through the second half, the Celtics' trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish were having their way with the Knicks, leading 58-33. The Knicks were depleted by injuries to stars Bill Cartwright and Bernard King. But then the momentum suddenly changed. The Knicks cut the Celtics lead to ten points heading into the fourth quarter, when rookie Patrick Ewing took over. The Knicks tied the game in the last minute and went on to win, 113-104, in overtime.
1972-1973 Playoffs. Considered the hey-day of the Knicks franchise, New York beat the Celtics in the conference finals in five games, only to move on to the NBA Finals and lose to the Los Angeles Lakers. A year later, the Knicks became the first team to win a game seven in Boston and took their second title in four years.
Gamesmanship. Rumors were swirling in 1984 that the Knicks were trying to lure Celtics star Kevin McHale with a free-agent contract. In retaliation, Celtics president Red Auerbach signed three Knicks stars to free agent contracts -- Marvin Webster, Rory Sparrow and Sly Williams. The Knicks backed down and McHale went on to become one of the most respected Celtics of all time.
Boastfulness. Both teams have had a long list of great players who have risen to challenge each other. In the 1984 playoffs, Cedric Maxwell of the Celtics bragged that he would cover Knicks star Bernard King, and that King would "not score 40." Technically, this ended up bring true: King tallied 43 and 44 points. But the Celtics won the series in seven games.
Brawling. The Knicks and Celtics squared off again in the 1984 playoffs. In a tight game five, guard Danny Ainge committed a hard foul that Knicks star Darrell Walker did not take kindly to. The two started throwing punches, and both benches cleared to join in the action. Eventually calm was restored, but the NBA issued thousands of dollars in fines.
Familiarity breeds contempt. Though the Celtics have had the upper hand historically on the Knicks, that doesn't mean the rivalry hasn't been competitive. The Knicks versus Celtics history has been enhanced during the playoffs, with the two teams meeting twelve times.