1983–84 Boston Celtics season
In the playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Washington Bullets in the First Round in three games, defeated the New York Knicks in the Semifinals in seven games, and defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Finals in five games, advancing to the NBA Finals. In the Finals, the Celtics faced their long time rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, the first time the two teams faced off against each other since 1969 in which the Celtics won 4–3, and the first time the two teams met in the Finals in the 1980s. The Celtics would go on to defeat the Lakers in seven games, winning their fifteenth NBA championship, and extending their NBA Finals victories over the Lakers to 8.
Boston Celtics roster
- z – clinched division title
- y – clinched division title
- x – clinched playoff spot
Record vs. opponents
|1983–84 game log: 62–20 (Home: 33–8; Road: 29–12)|
October: 1–1 (Home: 0–0; Road: 1–1)
November: 11–4 (Home: 7–1; Road: 4–3)
December: 12–3 (Home: 5–2; Road: 7–1)
January: 11–1 (Home: 6–0; Road: 5–1)
February: 8–6 (Home: 4–3; Road: 4–3)
March: 13–4 (Home: 7–2; Road: 6–2)
April: 6–1 (Home: 4–0; Road: 2–1)
|1984 regular season schedule|
|1984 playoff game log: 15–8 (Home: 12–1; Road: 3–7)|
Eastern Conference First round: 3–1 (Home: 2–0; Road: 1–1)
Eastern Conference Semifinals: 4–3 (Home: 4–0; Road: 0–3)
Eastern Conference Finals: 4–1 (Home: 3–0; Road: 1–1)
NBA Finals: 4–3 (Home: 3–1; Road: 1–2)
|1984 playoff schedule|
Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Scoring Average
Eastern Conference First Round
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Washington Bullets: Celtics win series 3-1
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 17): Boston 91, Washington 83
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 19): Boston 88, Washington 85
- Game 3 @ Capital Centre, Landover (April 21): Washington 111, Boston 108 (OT)
- Game 4 @ Capital Centre, Landover (April 24): Boston 99, Washington 96
Last Playoff Meeting: 1982 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Boston won 4-1)
Boston defeats the Washington Bullets three games to one (3-1) in a best of five series.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (5) New York Knicks: Celtics win series 4-3
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 29): Boston 110, New York 92
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 2): Boston 116, New York 102
- Game 3 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 4): New York 100, Boston 92
- Game 4 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 6): New York 118, Boston 113
- Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 9): Boston 121, New York 99
- Game 6 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 11): New York 106, Boston 104
- Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 13): Boston 121, New York 104
Last Playoff Meeting: 1974 Eastern Conference Finals (Boston won 4-3)
Boston defeats the New York Knicks four games to three (4-3) in a best of seven series.
Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics win series 4-1
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 15): Boston 119, Milwaukee 96
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 17): Boston 125, Milwaukee 100
- Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 19): Boston 109, Milwaukee 100
- Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 21): Milwaukee 122, Boston 113
- Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 23): Boston 115, Milwaukee 108 (Bob Lanier's final NBA game)
Last Playoff Meeting: 1983 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Milwaukee won 4-0)
Boston defeats the Milwaukee Bucks four games to one (4-1) in a best of seven series.
(E1) Boston Celtics vs. (W1) Los Angeles Lakers: Celtics win series 4-3
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 27): Los Angeles 115, Boston 109
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 31)*: Boston 124, Los Angeles 121 (OT; Gerald Henderson stole a James Worthy pass and made a layup to tie the game with 13 seconds left and eventually force OT)
- Game 3 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 3): Los Angeles 137, Boston 104 (Magic Johnson gives out a Finals record 21 assists)
- Game 4 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 6): Boston 129, Los Angeles 125 (OT; Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis; Larry Bird hits the clutch jumper over Magic with 16 seconds left in OT; M. L. Carr steals James Worthy's inbound pass and dunks it with 6 seconds left in OT)
- Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 8): Boston 121, Los Angeles 103 (The Heat Game)
- Game 6 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 10): Los Angeles 119, Boston 108
- Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 12): Boston 111, Los Angeles 102
Last Playoff Meeting: 1969 NBA Finals (Boston won 4-3)
The Lakers opened the series with a 115-109 victory at Boston Garden.
In Game 3, the Lakers raced to an easy 137-104 victory as Magic Johnson dished out 21 assists. After the game, Larry Bird said his team played like "sissies" in an attempt to light a fire under his teammates.
In Game 4, the Lakers had a five-point lead with less than a minute to play, but made several execution errors as the Celtics tied the game and then came away with a 129-125 victory in overtime. The game was also marked by Celtic forward Kevin McHale's takedown of Laker forward Kurt Rambis on a breakaway layup which triggered the physical aspect of the rivalry. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would go after Larry Bird later on in the third quarter, and 1981 Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell further antagonized the Lakers by following a missed James Worthy free throw by crossing the lane with his hands around his own neck, symbolizing that Worthy was "choking" under pressure. Also, Bird pushed Michael Cooper to the baseline following the inbound play during the second quarter.
In Game 5, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead as Larry Bird scored 34 points. The game was known as the "Heat Game", as it was played under 97-degree heat, and without any air conditioning, at Boston Garden. The Celtics did not warm up with their sweat pants on because of extreme heat, and oxygen tanks were provided to give air to exhausted players.
In Game 6, the Lakers evened the series with a 119-108 victory. In the game the Lakers answered the Celtics' rough tactics when Laker forward James Worthy shoved Cedric Maxwell into a basket support. After the game a Laker fan threw a beer at Celtics guard M.L. Carr as he left the floor, causing him to label the series "all-out-war."
In Game 7, the heat that was an issue in Game 5 was not so bad (indoor temperatures hovered around 91 degrees during the game, due to additional fans being brought in to try to cool the air). The Celtics were led by Cedric Maxwell who had 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as they came away with a 111-102 victory. In the game the Lakers rallied from a 14-point-deficit to three with one minute remaining when Cedric Maxwell knocked the ball away from Magic Johnson. Dennis Johnson responded by sinking two free throws to seal the victory. Larry Bird was named MVP of the series.
The series was the eighth time in NBA history that the Celtics and Lakers met in the NBA finals, with Boston winning each time.
- Larry Bird, NBA Free Throw Percentage Leader (88.8%)
- Larry Bird, NBA Most Valuable Player
- Larry Bird, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player
- Larry Bird, All-NBA First Team
- Kevin McHale, Sixth Man of the Year Award