1986–87 Boston Celtics season

The 1986–87 Boston Celtics season was the 41st season of the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Celtics entered the season as the defending NBA Champions, having defeated the Houston Rockets in the 1986 NBA Finals in six games, winning their sixteenth NBA championship.

In the playoffs, the Celtics swept the Chicago Bulls in the First Round in three games, defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Semifinals in seven games, and the Detroit Pistons in the Conference Finals in seven games to reach the NBA Finals for the fifth time in the 1980s. In the Finals, the Celtics faced off against their long time rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, in their third and final matchup in the NBA Finals in the 1980s. The Celtics would lose in six games to the Lakers, and it marked the last time the Celtics made it to the NBA Finals until 2008. Remarkably, the 1987 NBA Finals was the first playoff series for the Celtics in the Bird era in which they did not have the home court advantage, as they had played 24 consecutive series with the home court advantage starting in 1980.

NBA Draft

Thanks to the 1984 trade of Gerald Henderson and the subsequent fall of the Seattle SuperSonics, at the end of the 1985–86 season the Celtics owned not only the best team in the NBA but also the second pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. The Celtics drafted Len Bias with the pick and had high hopes for the young Maryland Terrapins star. The hope was that his presence would ensure that the franchise would remain a powerhouse after Bird, McHale, and Parish retired. Unfortunately, Bias died 48 hours after he was drafted, after using cocaine at a party and overdosing.

Unlike the prior year, the Celtics were forced to endure major injuries to several key players including Bill Walton, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. With a road record of 20–21, the Celtics were a sub-.500 road team for the first time in the Larry Bird era and the first time since the 1978–79 season. However, they continued with the previous season's historic dominance at home with a record of 39–2 at Boston Garden.

Regular season

Season standings




Record vs. opponents

Game log

1986-87 Game Log
1986-87 Schedule

Roster

Roster listing
1986–87 Boston Celtics roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
SG44Ainge, Danny6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)175 lb (79 kg)1959-03-17BYU
SF33Bird, Larry (C)6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)220 lb (100 kg)1956-12-07Indiana State
SG34Carlisle, Rick6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)210 lb (95 kg)1959-10-27Virginia
SF20Daye, Darren6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)220 lb (100 kg)1960-11-30UCLA
SG43Henry, Conner6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)195 lb (88 kg)1963-07-21UC Santa Barbara
PG3Johnson, Dennis6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)185 lb (84 kg)1954-09-18Pepperdine
C50Kite, Greg6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)250 lb (113 kg)1961-08-05BYU
PF32McHale, Kevin6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)210 lb (95 kg)1957-12-19Minnesota
C00Parish, Robert7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)230 lb (104 kg)1953-08-30Centenary College of Louisiana
PF31Roberts, Fred6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)218 lb (99 kg)1960-08-10BYU
PG12Sichting, Jerry6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)168 lb (76 kg)1956-11-29Purdue
PG11Vincent, Sam6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)185 lb (84 kg)1963-05-18Michigan State
C5Walton, Bill6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)235 lb (107 kg)1952-11-05UCLA
SF8Wedman, Scott6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)215 lb (98 kg)1952-07-29Colorado
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Roster

Player stats

Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Scoring Average

Playoffs

East First Round

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Chicago Bulls: Celtics win series 3–0

  • Game 1 @ Boston: Boston 108, Chicago 104
  • Game 2 @ Boston: Boston 105, Chicago 96
  • Game 3 @ Chicago: Boston 105, Chicago 94

East Conference Semifinals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Milwaukee Bucks Celtics win series 4–3

  • Game 1 @ Boston: Boston 111, Milwaukee 98
  • Game 2 @ Boston: Boston 126, Milwaukee 124
  • Game 3 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 126, Boston 121
  • Game 4 @ Milwaukee: Boston 138, Milwaukee 137
  • Game 5 @ Boston: Milwaukee 129, Boston 124
  • Game 6 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 121, Boston 111
  • Game 7 @ Boston: Boston 119, Milwaukee 113

East Conference Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Detroit Pistons Celtics win series 4–3

  • Game 1 @ Boston: Boston 104, Detroit 91
  • Game 2 @ Boston: Boston 110, Detroit 101
  • Game 3 @ Detroit: Detroit 122, Boston 104
  • Game 4 @ Detroit: Detroit 145, Boston 119
  • Game 5 @ Boston: Boston 108, Detroit 107
  • Game 6 @ Detroit: Detroit 113, Boston 105
  • Game 7 @ Boston: Boston 117, Detroit 114

NBA finals

Despite the loss of Bias, the Celtics remained competitive in 1986–87, going 59–23 and again winning the Eastern Conference Championship.[editorializing] Celtics ran into perhaps the best Los Angeles Lakers team of the "Showtime" era. The biggest injury was yet another foot injury for Bill Walton, who only played 10 regular season games in 1986–87 after playing 80 games the year before. Walton fought through the injury, playing 12 games (out of 23) in the playoffs, but was not the same player as he was the year before. Kevin McHale played on a broken foot through the playoffs. This combined with injuries to Parish and Ainge forced reserves Darren Daye and Fred Roberts to play larger roles in the series, which the Celtics would lose 4 games to 2.

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (1) Boston Celtics Lakers win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 126, Boston 113
  • Game 2 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 141, Boston 122
  • Game 3 @ Boston: Boston 109, Los Angeles 103
  • Game 4 @ Boston: Los Angeles 107, Boston 106
  • Game 5 @ Boston: Boston 123, Los Angeles 108
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 106, Boston 93

Award winners

  • Larry Bird, All-NBA First Team
  • Kevin McHale, All-NBA First Team
  • Kevin McHale, All-NBA Defensive First Team
Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1986–87 Boston Celtics season, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.