Boston Celtics All-Decade Teams: The 1970s

Guest post by The Sports Hayes 

The 1970's

The 70's began and ended in misery with championships in between. One of the weirdest decades in franchise history, that's for sure. Still, they won 2 championships and should have won 4 if it wasn't for injuries and front office buffoonery.

Coach - Tom Heinsohn

Its either him, Satch Sanders or player/coach Dave Cowens. I'll take the two titles and several near misses over two years of misery. Heinsohn was always criticized by the media, Bob Ryan in particular, but the fact remains is he won one more title than the media favorite Doc Rivers. He also came up with the game-plan that sunk the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the 1974 NBA Finals (despite the Boston media saying Bob Cousy and assistant John Killea came up with it).


Center - Dave Cowens

This one's a no brainer. The hall of famer was the starting center for 9 of the 10 years in the decade beginning in 1971. He was an undersized 6'8 but was a ferocious competitor that had no problem manhandling guys to prove a point. His reckless style of play made him prone to injuries but made him a crowd favorite and a heck of a rebounder. He was one of the few that could stack up to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 70's. His number 18 is retired in his honor.

Forward - Paul Silas

The Buffoon once said Danny Fortson was the "missing piece" to the Celtics in 2000, well in the summer of 1972
Paul Silas
the Celtics got the true missing piece in Paul Silas. He was a rebounding machine that had fallen out of favor with the Phoenix Suns for being miserable and out of shape. As soon as he was sold to the Celtics, he promptly got back in shape and became the perfect compiment to Cowens in the front-court. With Silas the Celtics took home 2 championships and was a Havlicek shoulder injury away from a third in 1973. His trade to Denver also sealed their doom in the late 70's.

Forward - John Havlicek

Another no-brainer. He successfully bridged the gap between the 60's Russel led Celtics and the 70's Cowens led Celtics. He missed Larry Bird by one year but when he retired in 1978, he was 3rd on the all-time scoring list behind Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain. He won 8 championships as a player, 2 more than Michael Jordan and also for radically different teams. The 1963 Celtics were different from the 1969 Celtics and the 1974/76 Celtics were different from the 69 ones. Its one thing to win championships with the same guys, its another to do it with 3 radically different teams. His number 17 is retired in his honor.

Guard - Charlie Scott

Charlie Scott
He was an outstanding college player and the first black to play at UNC, paving the way for James Worthy and Michael Jordan. He was originally drafted by the Celtics but his rights were traded for Paul Silas. Later the Celtics traded Paul Westphal to get Scott back and Charlie delivered, helping the Celtics win the 1976 NBA title. He was a two time ABA all-star and a 3 time NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns.

Guard - Jo-Jo White

Like Scott, White had similar success in college with the Kansas Jayhawks. Jo-Jo was the starting guard for the Celtics from 1970 all the way until he was traded in 1979. He won 2 championships and was a 7 time all-star with the Celtics. His number 10 is retired in his honor.

Jo Jo White

Center - Rick Robey

Even though he only played in 1979 after a trade with the Indiana Pacers, he was the best of the backup centers believe it or not. Jim Ard scored less than 2,000 career points, Hank Finkel was a career backup and Dennis Awtrey had a longer career, but Robey was more effective in Boston. He was Bird's drinking buddy although he set bruising picks and definitely picked up the slack for Cowens and later Robert Parish.

Forward - Steve Kuberski

Kuberski never cracked double figures in scoring or rebounding but always seemed to make the big play which helped the Celtics win the title in 1974 and 1976. He actually had to play 60 games at center for the Celtics in 1976 when Ard proved ineffective sometimes.

Steve Kuberski
Forward - Don Nelson

One of the greatest scrap heap pickups of all-time. Discarded by the Lakers following the 1965 season, Nelson became an integral part of the 60's and 70's Celtics. He bridged the gap between the Russell era and into the glory days of the Cowens era. He took home 5 championships as a player and his number 19 is retired in his honor. Later became a hall of fame coach.

Guard - Paul Westphal

It can be debated whether Westphal or Scott belongs on which team, but I go with Scott on the 1st team because he scored more career points. Westphal himself was a very intelligent player that helped the Celtics win the 1974 championship and later led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals. He later became a coach himself and a 5 time all-star in Phoenix.

Guard - Don Chaney

Other than a brief period of 2 1/2 years with the St. Louis Spirits and the Lakers, Chaney spent almost his entire career in Boston. He was the perfect compliment to Jo-Jo in the early 70's and helped guide the Celtics to the championship in 1974. After leaving the team following the 1975 season, he was brought back in a trade in 1978 (for Charlie Scott no less) and contributed for 3 more years before retiring. He's the only one to play with Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Larry Bird.

Extra - Glenn McDonald

Normally McDonald wouldn't make any list of this magnitude, especially over much more deserving guys like Hambone Williams and Tom Boswell....but McDonald's play in triple overtime during Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals propelled the Celtics to victory.

12th man - Hank Finkel

He had one of the most depressing careers but made the best of it. He was the starting center for the San Diego Rockets and had the unenviable task of replacing Bill Russell as starting center for the Celtics. He was booed mercilessly by the Boston Garden although he later became a favorite for his play off the bench in relief of Dave Cowens.

That about wraps up the 1970's. While the Celtics had more talent on their roster in the form of Curtis Rowe, Bob McAdoo, Sidney Wicks, Billy Knight, Marvin Barnes and Ernie D...the above mentioned guys won the championships and that means more than talent in most cases. Coming up next will be the easiest decade ever, the 80's.

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