1980–81 Boston Celtics season

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1980–81 Boston Celtics season
NBA Champions
Conference Champions
Division Champions
Head coach Bill Fitch
General manager Red Auerbach
Owner(s) Harry Mangurian
Arena Boston Garden
Hartford Civic Center
Results
Record 62–20 (.756)
Place Division: 1st (Atlantic)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Champions
(Defeated Rockets 4-2)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television WBZ-TV, WATR
Radio WBZ Radio, WTIC
< 1979–80 1981–82 >
A ticket for a March 1981 game between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks.

In 1980–81 the Boston Celtics went 62-20 under coach Bill Fitch. Despite losing center Dave Cowens to retirement late in training camp, the Celtics went on to capture the 1981 NBA Championship over the Houston Rockets. The highlight was that this championship was achieved just two years after Bird had been drafted. Cedric Maxwell was named NBA Finals MVP.

Offseason[edit]

NBA draft[edit]

After the 1979-80 season, Auerbach completed what may be the most lopsided trade in NBA history. Auerbach had always been a fan of stockpiling draft picks, so even after the success of 1979-80 the Celtics had both the 1st and 13th picks in the 1980 NBA draft left over from the M.L. Carr trade. Auerbach saw an opportunity to improve the team immediately, sending the two picks to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for center Robert Parish and the Warriors first round pick, the 3rd overall, University of Minnesota power forward Kevin McHale. With these three future Hall of Famers on the team the Celtics had a core in place to become a dominant team in the NBA.

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 1 Joe Barry Carroll Center  United States Purdue
1 13 Rickey Brown Center  United States Mississippi State

[1]

Roster[edit]

Boston Celtics roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G 7 United States Archibald, Nate 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 150 lb (68 kg) Texas–El Paso
F 33 United States Bird, Larry 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Indiana State
F 30 United States Carr, M. L. 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Guilford
G/F 40 United States Duerod, Terry 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Detroit
F/C 45 United States Fernsten, Eric 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 205 lb (93 kg) San Francisco
G 42 United States Ford, Chris 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Villanova
G 43 United States Henderson, Gerald 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Virginia Commonwealth
F 31 United States Maxwell, Cedric 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Charlotte
F 32 United States McHale, Kevin 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Minnesota
C 00 United States Parish, Robert 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Centenary
C 53 United States Robey, Rick 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Kentucky
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

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

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Boston Celtics 62 20 .756 35–6 27–14 19–5
x-Philadelphia 76ers 62 20 .756 37–4 25–16 15–9
x-New York Knicks 50 32 .610 12.0 28–13 22–19 14–10
Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 23.0 26–15 13–28 8–16
New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 38.0 16–25 8–33 8–16
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Boston Celtics 62 20 .756  –
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 60 22 .732 2
3 x-Philadelphia 76ers 62 20 .756
4 x-New York Knicks 50 32 .610 12
5 x-Chicago Bulls 45 37 .549 17
6 x-Indiana Pacers 44 38 .537 18
7 Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 23
8 Atlanta Hawks 31 51 .378 31
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 28 54 .341 34
10 New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 38
11 Detroit Pistons 21 61 .256 41


Notes

  • z, y – division champions
  • x – clinched playoff spot

Record vs. opponents[edit]

1980-81 NBA Records
Team ATL BOS CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND KCK LAL MIL NJN NYK PHI PHO POR SAS SDC SEA UTA WAS
Atlanta 2–4 2–4 1–5 2–0 1–1 4–2 2–0 1–1 1–5 1–1 0–2 1–5 3–2 2–4 1–5 0–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–4
Boston 4–2 5–1 4–1 2–0 2–0 4–1 1–1 2–0 3–3 1–1 2–0 3–3 6–0 5–1 3–3 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 1–1 1–1 5–1
Chicago 4–2 1–5 5–1 1–1 1–1 5–1 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–0 1–1 3–3 3–2 3–3 2–4 0–2 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 5–1
Cleveland 5–1 1–4 1–5 2–0 1–1 3–3 1–1 0–2 2–4 0–2 0–2 0–6 3–3 0–5 0–6 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 4–2
Dallas 0–2 0–2 1–1 0–2 3–3 0–2 2–3 0–6 0–2 0–6 0–5 0–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–4 1–4 1–5 2–3 1–4 1–5 0–2
Denver 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3 2–0 3–2 2–4 1–1 4–2 3–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–4 2–3 2–4 3–2 3–2 2–4 0–2
Detroit 2–4 1–4 1–5 3–3 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–1 2–4 1–1 0–2 1–5 3–3 1–5 1–4 0–2 0–2 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–5
Golden State 0–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–3 2–0 3–2 1–1 5–0 1–5 1–1 1–1 2–0 0–2 2–4 2–4 1–4 2–4 3–3 4–1 1–1
Houston 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 6–0 4–2 1–1 2–3 1–1 2–4 2–3 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–4 3–2 3–3 1–4 4–1 4–2 0–2
Indiana 5–1 3–3 2–3 4–2 2–0 1–1 4–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 0–2 2–4 5–1 3–2 0–6 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 0–2 1–1 4–2
Kansas City 1–1 1–1 0–2 2–0 6–0 2–4 1–1 0–5 4–2 0–2 0–5 1–1 2–0 1–1 0–2 3–2 3–2 2–4 3–2 2–3 5–1 1–1
Los Angeles 2–0 0–2 1–1 2–0 5–0 2–3 2–0 5–1 3–2 2–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 2–0 1–1 2–4 3–3 2–3 3–3 6–0 3–2 1–1
Milwaukee 5–1 3–3 3–3 6–0 2–0 1–1 5–1 1–1 2–0 4–2 1–1 2–0 5–1 3–3 3–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–1
New Jersey 2–3 0–6 2–3 3–3 1–1 1–1 3–3 1–1 0–2 1–5 0–2 0–2 1–5 0–6 1–5 1–1 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3
New York 4–2 1–5 3–3 5–0 1–1 2–0 5–1 0–2 2–0 2–3 1–1 0–2 3–3 6–0 3–3 1–1 1–1 0–2 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–2
Philadelphia 5–1 3–3 4–2 6–0 2–0 1–1 4–1 2–0 2–0 6–0 2–0 1–1 2–3 5–1 3–3 1–1 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–2
Phoenix 2–0 0–2 2–0 1–1 4–1 4–1 2–0 4–2 4–1 1–1 2–3 4–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 3–3 3–2 6–0 5–1 5–0 1–1
Portland 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 4–1 3–2 2–0 4–2 2–3 2–0 2–3 3–3 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3 2–3 4–2 4–2 2–3 2–0
San Antonio 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 5–1 4–2 2–0 4–1 3–3 0–2 4–2 3–2 1–1 2–0 2–0 0–2 2–3 3–2 4–1 3–2 5–1 1–1
San Diego 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–3 1–1 4–2 4–1 1–1 2–3 3–3 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–6 2–4 1–4 5–1 3–2 0–2
Seattle 1–1 1–1 1–1 2–0 4–1 2–3 2–0 3–3 1–4 2–0 3–2 0–6 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–5 2–4 2–3 1–5 4–1 1–1
Utah 0–2 1–1 0–2 1–1 5–1 4–2 2–0 1–4 2–4 1–1 1–5 2–3 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 0–5 3–2 1–5 2–3 1–4 0–2
Washington 4–1 1–5 1–5 2–4 2–0 2–0 5–1 1–1 2–0 2–4 1–1 1–1 1–4 3–3 2–4 2–4 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 2–0

Game log[edit]

Regular season[edit]

1980–81 game log: 62–20 (Home: 35–6; Road: 27–14)
1981 regular season schedule

Playoffs[edit]

1981 playoff game log: 12–5 (Home: 7–2; Road: 5–3)
1981 playoff schedule

Player stats[edit]

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

Player GP REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG
Nate Archibald 80 176 618 75 18 1106 13.8
Larry Bird 82 895 451 161 63 1741 21.2
M. L. Carr 41 83 56 30 18 248 6.0
Joe Hassett 32 5 6 5 0 79 2.5
Eric Fernsten 45 62 10 6 7 96 2.1
Chris Ford 82 163 295 100 23 728 8.9
Tom LaGarde 82 132 213 79 12 636 7.8
Wayne Kreklow 25 12 9 2 1 30 1.2
Cedric Maxwell 81 525 219 79 68 1234 15.2
Kevin McHale 82 359 55 27 151 818 10.0
Robert Parish 82 777 144 81 214 1552 18.9
Rick Robey 82 390 126 38 19 740 9.0

Playoffs[edit]

Eastern Conference First Round[edit]

The Celtics have a first-round bye.

Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

Boston defeats the Chicago Bulls four games to none (4-0) in a best of seven series.

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Chicago Bulls: Celtics win series 4–0

  • Game 1 @ Boston (April 5): Boston 121, Chicago 109
  • Game 2 @ Boston (April 7): Boston 106, Chicago 97
  • Game 3 @ Chicago (April 10): Boston 113, Chicago 107
  • Game 4 @ Chicago (April 12): Boston 109, Chicago 103

Last Playoff Meeting: Not available (first playoff series)

Eastern Conference Finals[edit]

Boston defeats the Philadelphia 76ers four games to three (4-3) in a best of seven series after making a comeback when they were losing 3-1.

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers: Celtics win series 4–3

  • Game 1 @ Boston (April 21): Philadelphia 105, Boston 104 (Andrew Toney hits the game-winning free throws with 2 seconds left)
  • Game 2 @ Boston (April 22): Boston 118, Philadelphia 99
  • Game 3 @ Philadelphia (April 24): Philadelphia 110, Boston 100
  • Game 4 @ Philadelphia (April 26): Philadelphia 107, Boston 105
  • Game 5 @ Boston (April 29): Boston 111, Philadelphia 109
  • Game 6 @ Philadelphia (May 1): Boston 100, Philadelphia 98
  • Game 7 @ Boston (May 3): Boston 91, Philadelphia 90

Last Playoff Meeting: 1980 Eastern Conference Finals (Philadelphia won 4-1)

NBA Finals[edit]

(E1) Boston Celtics vs. (W6) Houston Rockets: Celtics win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Boston (May 5): Boston 98, Houston 95 (Larry Bird's famous play of following a missed jumper, jumping for the rebound, and switching ball from his right to left hand as his momentum was carrying him out of bounds as he scored.)
  • Game 2 @ Boston (May 7): Houston 92, Boston 90
  • Game 3 @ Houston (May 9): Boston 94, Houston 71
  • Game 4 @ Houston (May 10): Houston 91, Boston 86
  • Game 5 @ Boston (May 12): Boston 109, Houston 80
  • Game 6 @ Houston (May 14): Boston 102, Houston 91

Last Playoff Meeting: 1980 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Boston won 4-0)

Award winners[edit]

  • Nate Archibald, All-NBA Second Team
  • Larry Bird, All-NBA First Team
  • Cedric Maxwell, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award
  • Kevin McHale, All-NBA Rookie Team

References[edit]