From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics dominated the league, winning eleven championships in thirteen years and eight in a row (1959–1966), the longest consecutive streak of any North American professional sports team. The Celtics dominated the league during the late 1950s and through the mid-1980s, with the help of many Hall of Famers which include Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird and legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach combined for a 795–397 record that helped the Celtics win sixteen Championships. Before the retirement of the “Big Three”, who included Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, thanks to some creative maneuvering by Auerbach, the Celtics had drafted second overall pick Len Bias but the team fell into decline as the college star died two days after he was drafted. Later, the team suffered another tragedy when their star player Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack in his prime.
The franchise returned to prominence during the 2007–2008 season when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce as the new "Big Three," leading the team to its seventeenth championship in 2008 and an Eastern Conference title in 2010. During this time, point guard Rajon Rondo developed into a perennial all-star. The Celtics have met the Lakers a record twelve times in the Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, with the Celtics winning nine and Lakers winning three. Four Celtics (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird have won the N.B.A. Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of ten M.V.P. awards.[ Their mascot 'Lucky the Leprechaun' is an ode to the team's Irish heritage and to Boston's historically large Irish population.
2012–present: A Time of Transition
2012 became a pivotal offseason for Danny Ainge's Celtics, as both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett became free agents and only six players remained under contract (Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore & Sean Williams). In the 2012 NBA Draft, the Celtics drafted three players, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph with their 21st, 22nd and 51st picks respectively. The Celtics re-signed their free agents Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Keyon Dooling along with Chris Wilcox and Jeff Green, who both were returning to play after sustaining season-ending heart ailments. The Celtics also signed former Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry. On July 20, the Celtics acquired free agent Courtney Lee in a three-team sign and trade, sending JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Sean Williams and future second round pick to the Houston Rockets and Sasha Pavlovic to Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Lee. Jason Collins was later signed to a one-year deal. However, Allen chose to sign with the Miami Heat, for less money, bringing the five-year "Big Three" era to a somewhat acrimonious end. On September 20, Keyon Dooling was waived by the Celtics following his retirement from basketball, however, Dooling came back from retirement and signed with the Memphis Grizzlies later that year. In addition the Celtics signed center Darko Miličić and guard Leandro Barbosa.
Later in the season, it was announced that Miličić would return to Europe for a family matter. On December 24, the Celtics signed forward Jarvis Varnado of the NBA D-League team Sioux Falls to a deal. He was then waived on January 6 along with rookie forward Kris Joseph. On January 27, 2013, it was revealed that Rajon Rondo had tore the ACL on his right knee and would miss the rest of the season along with part of next season. On February 2, it was announced that Jared Sullinger would also miss the rest of the season due to back surgery.
Despite losing Rondo and Sullinger to injury, the Celtics compiled a seven-game winning streak, namely against the Heat in double overtime and the Nuggets in triple overtime. The winning streak was snapped on February 12 when Leandro Barbosa suffered a torn ACL; he would miss the rest of the season as well. Then on February 18 the Celtics signed forward Terrence Williams to a deal. On February 21 the Celtics traded Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins for Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford. On February 28 and March 21, respectively, the Celtics signed forwards D. J. White and Shavlik Randolph.
The Celtics finished the season with 41 wins, but played only 81 games after a home game against the Indiana Pacers on April 16 was cancelled following the Boston Marathon bombings the game was not made up with both teams already assured of their playoff positions.[9 The 41 wins were the lowest totals the Celtics achieved as a playoff-bound team since 2004. The Celtics trailed 3–0 to the New York Knicks in the opening round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, before losing the series in six games. In Game 6, the Celtics nearly completed a come back when they went on a 20-0 run to cut the lead to 4, but that was the closest they got as the New York Knicks would take over to win.
Boston Celtics Roster
|Rajon Rondo||9||Point guard|
|Paul Pierce||34||Small forward|
|Jeff Green||8||Small forward|
|Terrence Williams||55||Shooting guard|
|Jordan Crawford||27||Shooting guard|
|Avery Bradly||0||Point guard|
|Jared Sullinger||7||Power forward|
|D. J. White||12||Power forward|
|Courtney Lee||11||Shooting guard|