In 1984, the Celtics became a dynasty. Their new roster of young talent led by future Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird and legends like Bill Walton and Cedric Maxwell was dubbed “The Big Three.” One year later, they would go on to win their last championship as a group. The differences between these two teams were in how much fun it was for them to play together – and that’s why McHale is still getting cheers from fans 30 years later.

For the fourth time in six years, the Boston Celtics have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. They haven’t made it to the NBA Finals during that time. They’ve merely been unable to overcome the obstacle. Perhaps Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be able to make it to the final round this year.

The 1980s Celtics made the NBA Finals a popular trip. Following their triumph in 1981, the Celtics won four more championships in a row from 1984 to 1987. When former Celtics teammates Kevin McHale and Cedric Maxwell spoke on The Cedric Maxwell Podcast last year, they talked about those years.

As the stakes became larger, the two discussed their attitude. When it came to Game 7, both Maxwell and McHale stated there was a “different atmosphere.”

With the Boston Celtics, Kevin McHale and Cedric Maxwell won two championships.


Kevin-McHale-Celtics-1-1024x763 On June 1, 1988, during Game 5 of the third round of the 1988 NBA playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons at the Boston Garden, Boston Celtics head coach K.C. Jones gestures as he speaks with players Kevin McHale, left, and Danny Ainge. | Getty Images/Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe

McHale’s professional basketball career may have been spoilt from the start. He was chosen third overall in the 1980 NBA Draft by the Celtics, and he won a championship in his first season with the organization. McHale and Robert Parish both joined the Celtics in the same season, after Parish was acquired from the Golden State Warriors in a trade.

The two were teamed with Larry Bird, the previous season’s Rookie of the Year, and Maxwell, who averaged a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) during the 1978-79 season. The four formed the NBA’s top frontcourt.

The Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets in the 1981 NBA Finals in their first season together. Maxwell was the series’ MVP, winning the NBA Finals.

The Celtics faced the Lakers for the 1984 title after going two seasons without making it beyond the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lakers outplayed the Celtics in an epic matchup between the two bitter rivals, but Boston prevailed in seven games.

After losing Game 1 at home, Boston was able to salvage a Game 2 win thanks to a famous theft by Gerald Henderson. It’s also renowned for McHale’s clotheslining of Kurt Rambis in Game 4, which swung the series back in Boston’s favor and tied the series at two games each.

The Celtics made it to the NBA Finals three more times after that, beating the Rockets in 1986. However, before the season, Maxwell was moved to the LA Clippers in exchange for Bill Walton.

Kevin McHale and Cedric Maxwell discussed how different a Game 7 atmosphere is. Yvk

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Maxwell and McHale reminisced about their Celtics days, especially their playoff experiences. Maxwell said it was difficult to put into words how it felt to prepare for a winner-take-all Game 7.

When reflecting on Game 7 in 1984, he said McHale on The Cedric Maxwell Podcast, “I don’t believe anyone can understand what it’s like to play a seventh game when you know that somebody’s going to be sobbing and somebody’s going to be smiling.” “The level of urgency in our locker room that day was incredible.”

“We came in — and we all joked and laughed, that was pretty much our locker room, a comedy of errors — but that day, since it was the seventh game, there was a distinct feeling about that specific game.”

McHale concurred.

“What’s strange about that team, Max,” McHale recalled, “is what occurred in the fourth quarter of that game, a close game, we’d come to the bench, and it was silent.” “In close games, we had a distinct atmosphere.” It was amusing because we all became silent. We were all yapping and going wild, then we all became silent at that point. We were all focused on the task at hand. Let’s get started. That gang had a calm assurance about it.

“I recall looking around as a rookie as the game became close. M.L. (Carr) is ready to play. Max put on his game face. Everyone has their game face on, even Robert and Larry. We all had our game faces on for Game 7.”

McHale believes the Celtics’really did something’ after winning the championship in 1984.

The Celtics were overwhelming favorites versus Moses Malone and the Rockets in 1981. Bird even remarked that his first championship in 1981 was “too easy” at one point. When McHale claimed he felt he did something as a member of the Celtics when they defeated the Lakers in 1984, he was speaking along similar lines.

McHale remembered, “(Game 7) had turned a bit more violent in our favor.” “I became a bit rougher and more rugged.” Thank goodness it wasn’t simply a track competition.

“I suppose we shot a low percentage, but you had it going.” We just kept going and battled for the ball. After we won the competition, I recall feeling like we had done something significant. If you had predicted that we would win the series after Game 3, the Vegas odds would have been nil.

“You mention your peaceful assurance. The’s something I’ve always admired about that group. When I was coaching, you’d have a squad like that every now and again. You’d find the appropriate five groups of males, and within two minutes, they’d all be locked in. They wouldn’t make any errors.”

Maybe the Celtics of 2022 can learn something from the Celtics of the 1980s.

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On and off the court, Cedric Maxwell and the 1984 Boston Celtics were a reporter’s dream.

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