Author Topic: Celts - Bullets '75  (Read 614 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Celts - Bullets '75
« on: May 01, 2017, 07:00:44 PM »

Offline tenn_smoothie

  • Bill Walton
  • *
  • Posts: 1384
  • Tommy Points: 140
1975 - The last time we played the Bullets (sorry, just can't wrap my arms around the new non-offensive name) in a 7 game series was a real Celtics' nightmare - thankfully, this series has at least had a better start than '75.

Here we were, coming off three great regular seasons ('73, '74, '75) and one great playoff run ('74), which ended with a 7-game series victory over Jabbar and the Bucks and with us hanging Banner #12. The dynasty had been rebuilt.

Now, 1973 was bad enough - still my 2nd most painful Celtic loss in franchise history (Game 7 ECF with Havlicek hurt vs Knicks). At least there was the obvious explanation for that loss.

But 1975 ??  I never did understand what went wrong vs Washington in the ECF. Seems I remember that we played them even in the regular season and that they were a tough matchup because they were one team that had enough inside strength to at least challenge Cowens and Silas. But that series was soooooooo frustrating. Celts just could not get any momentum going against them and could not get over the hump to get the series going in our direction. I specifically remember their post guy Witherspoon kept hitting those baseline 12-footers forever.

Can anyone enlighten me with some inside info on that series ? We were defending champs and on the verge of another run of titles and then this Bullet team takes us out in 6 and it didn't seem that close. Even more frustrating is the fact that the Bullets then proceed to be swept by Rick Barry's Golden State Warriors and the Celtics go on to win another title in 1976. Should have been 4 straight.

While on this topic - another 1975 question. Why did Red trade Paul Westphal away for Charlie Scott in an effort to replace the free-agent loss of Don Chaney. How was Charlie (who I always loved in green) a better replacement at the two-guard than Westphal ??

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 07:38:25 PM »

Offline Granath

  • NCE
  • Don Chaney
  • *
  • Posts: 1843
  • Tommy Points: 467
I was around for that one. The thing to remember is that series wasn't an upset. The Cs and Bullets finished with identical records that year and the Bullets had a better point differential. The Cs won the tiebreaker but that was a very even series going in.

And as so often happens in a series like that, the team that shoots better often wins. The Cs couldn't buy a bucket. They shot like 40% for the series while the Bullets shot closer to 50%. Also, Havlicek and Nelson were really old by then while Silas was no spring chicken while the Bullets best guys were in their prime.

In short, Washington was the better team in their prime.
Jaylen Brown will be an All Star in the next 5 years.

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 07:54:07 PM »

Offline footey

  • Paul Silas
  • ******
  • Posts: 6381
  • Tommy Points: 749
I was around for that one. The thing to remember is that series wasn't an upset. The Cs and Bullets finished with identical records that year and the Bullets had a better point differential. The Cs won the tiebreaker but that was a very even series going in.

And as so often happens in a series like that, the team that shoots better often wins. The Cs couldn't buy a bucket. They shot like 40% for the series while the Bullets shot closer to 50%. Also, Havlicek and Nelson were really old by then while Silas was no spring chicken while the Bullets best guys were in their prime.

In short, Washington was the better team in their prime.

I was around too. Havlicek and Silas were still quite good as they went on to win the championship the following year. As I recall Buffalo gave us a lot of problems that year with McAdoo and Ernie D. Right?

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 08:08:27 PM »

Offline Granath

  • NCE
  • Don Chaney
  • *
  • Posts: 1843
  • Tommy Points: 467
I was around for that one. The thing to remember is that series wasn't an upset. The Cs and Bullets finished with identical records that year and the Bullets had a better point differential. The Cs won the tiebreaker but that was a very even series going in.

And as so often happens in a series like that, the team that shoots better often wins. The Cs couldn't buy a bucket. They shot like 40% for the series while the Bullets shot closer to 50%. Also, Havlicek and Nelson were really old by then while Silas was no spring chicken while the Bullets best guys were in their prime.

In short, Washington was the better team in their prime.

I was around too. Havlicek and Silas were still quite good as they went on to win the championship the following year. As I recall Buffalo gave us a lot of problems that year with McAdoo and Ernie D. Right?

It was tight but the Cs won in 6. That was a weird year. The Cs point differential that year was like 3 ppg which isn't a whole lot but there really was only one dominant team. GS was easily the best team in the league but fell to the awful Suns who actually gave us fits in the finals. Remember game 5? That game had everything including a ref getting into a fistfight with a fan.

Good times.
Jaylen Brown will be an All Star in the next 5 years.

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 08:46:02 PM »

Offline ThaPreacher

  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Posts: 943
  • Tommy Points: 164
  • THA PREACHER
I was around for that one. The thing to remember is that series wasn't an upset. The Cs and Bullets finished with identical records that year and the Bullets had a better point differential. The Cs won the tiebreaker but that was a very even series going in.

And as so often happens in a series like that, the team that shoots better often wins. The Cs couldn't buy a bucket. They shot like 40% for the series while the Bullets shot closer to 50%. Also, Havlicek and Nelson were really old by then while Silas was no spring chicken while the Bullets best guys were in their prime.

In short, Washington was the better team in their prime.

Celtics of course won in '74 and '76.  There is a good chance that they could have won in 75 and ThreePeat would have been coined a decade earlier than Pat Riley's phraseology.

This series came down to shooting. Cowens and Silas were matched up against Unseld and Hayes. Tough Matchup.  In the first game Cowens had a poor night shooting.  The five point loss 100-95 to Washington was costly. Likely this series would have gone 7 games otherwise.
The Bullets were able to close out Boston in the 6th Game 98-92 and that game was close as well.

Mike Reardon in this series gave Boston fits at times. He seemed like a younger version of Havelicek. Phil Chenier and Kevin Porter were a great counter to Jo Jo White.

Washington was a tough match-up for Boston. It was like facing themselves.


Charlie Scott.  Red thought that trade would put Boston over the top.  Westphal was a promising  Player. Clearly, he had a strong skill set. But Charlie Scott seemed to be more athletic.  Little did we know, that Red traded away a soon to be 5-Time All Star. Paul Westphal was a dominant guard 77-81. In hindsight, this is a trade that we would have wanted back.
"Just do what you do best."  -Red Auerbach-

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 09:12:47 AM »

Offline otherdave

  • Jae Crowder
  • Posts: 305
  • Tommy Points: 36
  • takes.....MAKES!!!!
As far as the Paul W - Charlie S trade, here is how I remember it... I believe Paul was up for a new contract and wanted a boat load of $ and Red wasn't having it, so he traded Paul away for a player he had always liked: Charlie. Had $ not been an issue, there would have been no trade...at least that's how I remember it.
"And so when we started winning, it was really cool. The thing I still remember, when we won the title [in 2008], I looked over and Tommy was crying. And I was thinking: He's the true definition of what a Celtic is. And he's the best. Tommy means the world to me."     Doc Rivers

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 09:18:09 AM »

Offline Redz

  • Punner
  • Global Moderator
  • John Havlicek
  • ****************************
  • Posts: 28097
  • Tommy Points: 5366
  • Yup ya do
As far as the Paul W - Charlie S trade, here is how I remember it... I believe Paul was up for a new contract and wanted a boat load of $ and Red wasn't having it, so he traded Paul away for a player he had always liked: Charlie. Had $ not been an issue, there would have been no trade...at least that's how I remember it.

I loved Charlie Scott as a kid!  I wore number 11 on my first youth teams because of him.

My earliest memories of the Celtics really started with that `76 team though.  I remember worshiping an aging Hondo too.  I remember the Warriors winning the title in `75, but none of the details.

2017 PAPOUG CHAMPION

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 10:28:10 AM »

Offline footey

  • Paul Silas
  • ******
  • Posts: 6381
  • Tommy Points: 749
As far as the Paul W - Charlie S trade, here is how I remember it... I believe Paul was up for a new contract and wanted a boat load of $ and Red wasn't having it, so he traded Paul away for a player he had always liked: Charlie. Had $ not been an issue, there would have been no trade...at least that's how I remember it.

I don't recall that. I thought Red just felt that it was a good present value trade, after the frustration of '75.  And I guess it was, given that we won in '76.  I think if Red knew Westphal would be so good so soon, he would not have made the trade. Westphal was clearly better than Charlie Scott by the '76 playoffs. His scoring average more than doubled from 9.8 to 20.5 ppg from 1975 season to the '76 season after he was traded. It was a bad trade, frankly.  Even Red was human.

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 10:30:23 AM »

Offline footey

  • Paul Silas
  • ******
  • Posts: 6381
  • Tommy Points: 749
Of course, here is the irony:

We traded Westphal for Charlie Scott.

Suns later trade Westphal to Seattle for Dennis Johnson.

We later trade Rick Robey for Dennis Johnson.

So I guess we ended up stealing in the end (again).

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2017, 10:39:22 AM »

Offline Somebody

  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Posts: 952
  • Tommy Points: 117
  • Running in the 00s I WANNA BE THE NIGHT
Welp...I was born like 2 and a half decades after 75...however I did watch the tape (really love watching old tape, the stuff learnt from there is infinitely more useful than modern live games in playing basketball, tbh I can pick up most stuff my peers learn in modern basketball by just watching highlights) and we just weren't as springy and energetic as Baltimore,(really like the name, the Wizards should go back to Baltimore lol) it was weird because we were supposed to be a match for them on paper but they seemed to be grinding us down physically. At least that was how I felt in watching the tape.

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2017, 11:28:15 AM »

Offline SHAQATTACK

  • NCE
  • Kevin McHale
  • ************************
  • Posts: 24494
  • Tommy Points: 1813
I was very young , but my Daddy was a big fan of Red and those teams back then .  I have vague memories . I think we had just got color TV .  Things were much different .  We  had telephones it was very expensive device  per minute , many families had only one car.  Most stuff was paid with cash or checks. 

Best part was people interacted face to face instead of computers

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2017, 11:38:32 AM »

Offline Redz

  • Punner
  • Global Moderator
  • John Havlicek
  • ****************************
  • Posts: 28097
  • Tommy Points: 5366
  • Yup ya do
I was very young , but my Daddy was a big fan of Red and those teams back then .  I have vague memories . I think we had just got color TV .  Things were much different .  We  had telephones it was very expensive device  per minute , many families had only one car.  Most stuff was paid with cash or checks. 

Best part was people interacted face to face instead of computers

When I went off to college in the late 80's my parents would have me call them person-to-person for my dog.  They would refuse the call, then call me back so I wouldn't get charged some silly amount for a long distance call.

I remember listening to the `76 triple OT Finals game vs the Suns on the radio with Johnny Most.  My dad was at the game and I don't think it was televised live at the time.

2017 PAPOUG CHAMPION

Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2017, 12:40:53 PM »

Offline BadNewsBarnes

  • Jaylen Brown
  • Posts: 189
  • Tommy Points: 41
I remember that series.  Hayes & Unseld were in their primes and as someone else pointed out Hondo and Nelson were getting up there in age.  I can still remember the Bullets PA announcer every time Nick Weatherspoon scored  - "Spooooooon."

The Bullets had really good teams throughout the 70's.  They made it to the finals 3 times.






Re: Celts - Bullets '75
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 09:34:05 PM »

Offline tenn_smoothie

  • Bill Walton
  • *
  • Posts: 1384
  • Tommy Points: 140
Greatest Game Ever Played - 1976 Finals - Game 5 vs Phoenix. 3 OT Celtics win. Of course it was televised live, CBS, Musberger and ironically, Rick Barry on the call. I say ironically because Barry's Warriors had suffered a huge upset to Phoenix in the West, but he was still doing commentary.

Havlicek may have been getting older but he was still in his latter-prime. Nelson was older, but Cowens was definitely in his prime and just one year removed from League MVP and Silas was plenty strong.

Thanks for the refresh, though. I knew they had played us tough in the regular season, but had forgotten that we both finished with 60+ wins. However, to say they were a younger version of us just coming into their prime is a reach. They were swept in the finals after us (emotional letdown ?).What happened to them in '76 and '77 if they were so good and on their way up ?? I know they made the Finals in '78 and '79, but those were two weak seasons, league-wide.

Seems more like they did have a very solid team that just got it going that year and then had their stars play solid against us with some role players performing over their heads (Weatherspoon and Riordan). Remember that wild-man Riordan getting into a bad fight in the finals vs Golden State.

At least we came back and won again in 1976. The 1970's Celtics are still my favorite Celts of all time and Cowens my favorite player. Good Times, indeed.