25 years ago today the Celtics played their final game at the Boston Garden
The Celtics put up a valiant effort as the #8 seed against the Orlando Magic who would go on to make the NBA Finals in 1995. This appeared to be Orlando's year as they even knocked off the Bulls on their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Of course there was the whole Nick Anderson free throw debacle in the Finals, which led to their collapse against the Rockets.
After Reggie Lewis's passing in 1993, the Celtics would go on a long playoff drought which lasted til the exciting 2002 playoffs, with the sole exception of the final season in the Boston Garden, when Dominique Wilkins, Sherman Douglas, and company put up one last hoorah in the legendary arena. The Orland Magic boasted a starting five of Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott, Horace Grant and Shaquille O'Neal. Though the Celtics only won one game in what was still back then a best of five series, they didn't roll over for the Magic. They pulled off a major upset winning Game 2 in Orlando, then the Magic barely won Games 3 and 4.
Sherman Douglas was on a roll heading into the playoffs and the Magic's game plan was to take the ball out of his hands. Sherm still averaged 15 points, 8.3 assists, and 5 rebounds despite the added attention in the series. Dee Brown chipped in with 18.8 ppg, 5 rpg, and 4.8 apg. while Dino Radja added 15 and 7. But despite not meeting regular season expectations, 35 year old Dominique Wilkins showed up big time in the playoffs averaging 19 points and 10.8 rebounds for the series. 'Nique left it all on the Boston Garden floor on May 5th, 1995 trying to will the Celtics to one last win. Unfortunately Wilkins' Bill Russell-esque 22 points and 18 rebounds were still not enough as Penny, Shaq, and crew held on to a 95-92 win.
But no one could say that this seriously undermanned Celtics team rolled over. Also the Garden was rocking during this series. The Celtics would move into the Fleet Center (now named the TD Garden) the next season, which didn't have the same acoustics of the Garden. Probably took all the way until the championship season in 2008 to really get the new arena as loud as the old one.