Today in Celtics history: Cousy for 50, Cook, Potapenko born

Today, March 21st is the 64th anniversary of former Boston Celtic guard Bob Cousy putting up fifty points against the Syracuse Nationals.

The match, which came in the Eastern Division Semifinals, resulted in the elimination of the Nationals after the Celtics survived the four (yes, you read that correctly!) overtime tilt 111-105, largely on the efforts of Cooz, who scored 25 of his fifty-point outing in the overtime periods. The tally included thirty free throws made, at that time an NBA record. The Celts would later be eliminated by the New York Knicks three to one in the East Division Finals.

Today is also the 62nd anniversary of the birth of former Celtic Norm Cook (not to be confused with the artist more commonly known as "Fatboy Slim"), who was drafted sixteenth by the Celts in the 1976 NBA Draft. Cook didn't stick, either with the Celts or in the league, playing only 25 games with the team before being waived in October 1977. He would be picked up by the Denver Nuggets for a two-game stint that April before leaving the league. Cook was the first player to leave school early since Wilt Chamberlain (he played his college ball at Kansas), and was arguably the first player in history who should have stayed longer, a dubious honor to say the least. It's hard to say if the mental illness that began plaguing him after his short pro career was a factor in his lack of success in the league, but even now such factors are poorly addressed in the league, as evidenced by much of the media coverage of Larry Sanders only a few seasons ago.

It happens to also be the 42nd birthday of former Boston big man Vitaly Potapenko, who played for the club over four seasons between 1998-99 and 2000-01. Potapenko, who came to Boston as part of the deal that sent Andrew DeClerq to the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaged 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his time as a Celt before being traded to the Seattle Supersonics along with Kenny Anderson and Joseph Forte for Vin Baker and Shammond Williams. Vitaly would have stops with the Sacramento Kings and Spanish team MMT Estudiantes before serving as an assistant coach with several NBA D-League teams, and is currently an assistant with the Cavs. For more on the Ukraine Train, check out tbt727's long-form article - and if that's not enough, take a gander at his performance in the 1997 All-Star Rookie game, which also has Antoine Walker, Travis Knight, Roy Rogers, and Ray Allen among other former Celts.

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