The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have had one of the greatest rivalries in NBA history. Let’s look back at the best series between the Celtics and Sixers that went to a Game 7.
For a rivalry to last 70 years, everything needs to be perfect. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have that. Location, pride, superstars, surprises, game games, and of course violence, have all been apart of the two teams’ history. From the era of Bill Russell against Wilt Chamberlain to Larry Bird facing Julius Erving, and now two young Celtics and Sixers teams filled with potential stars which are both emerging to be powerhouses for a long time, the rivarly has stayed strong.
The two teams have played each other 410 times since 1950 when the Sixers became part of the NBA. This includes 21 playoff series–13 won by Boston and seven won by Philadephia–as well as six rubber match games, and the victory of these matchups and ten times the winner has gone on to win the championship.
On Sunday, August 23rd, the Boston Celtics beat the 76ers by four points to win the series in a fashionable sweep. Even though the series was short and seemingly one-sided, the rivalry seems to only be increasing in intensity as the two young teams continue to grow.
Ever since Red Auerbach started lighting cigars in Spectrum there has been bad blood between the two teams. Throughout the eras of the rivalry, dozens of fights occurred, some of which involved Red.
Every time the 76ers and Celtics meet during their long rivalry embodied the perfect features for a great matchup, with physicality, the rise of unsung players, and equally great players playing great basketball. With the constant Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum comparisons, the instigation in the paint, scrappy players, and passionate fans the rivalry will likely grow.
Five series, all of which went to a Game 7, seemed to perfectly encompass everything about the tension between the Northeastern powerhouses. Today, looking back, it becomes easy to see how the blood boiled and how the teams developed a strong hatred towards each other.