Today in Celtics history: Russell's 51 boards, the Truth, Chief & Hondo's big games

Today, February 5th marks the 57th anniversary of former Boston Celtics big man Bill Russell pulling down 51 rebounds, a personal record.

The career-best for Bill was also the second-most ever recorded in the NBA at that time, which came in a 124-100 victory over Syracuse. The first-place record - then and now - was held by Wilt Chamberlain, at 55 boards in a single game. Both records stand to this day.

It also happens to be the 39th anniversary of John Havlicek's last All-Star game. Doug Collins of the Philadelphia 76ers gave up his starting spot (can you imagine anyone doing that nowadays, even in a game that means almost nothing?) so that Hondo could go out a starter. Havlicek would score ten points as the East beat the West 135-125.

To complete the trifecta of big games for then-Celts, Robert Parish moved into second place for games played, all time (1,304) at that time, only trailing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's monstrous 1,560 games played in a 105-93 win over the 76ers. Chief would later shatter Abdul-Jabbar's record to take the all-time lead at 1,611 games played - a record he still holds.

It seems, then, only fitting that today is also legendary Celtic Paul Pierce's first and (almost certainly) last games at Boston, the latter against the Toronto Raptors, the former against the Celtics in his current role (and possibly last career start) playing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Photo via Robert Riger/NBAE Getty
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