10 Things To Know About the Celtics-Knicks Playoff Rivalry

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10 Things To Know About the Celtics-Knicks Playoff Rivalry
Al Bello/Getty Images

Earl Monroe shoots over Dave Cowens in 1973 Eastern Conference Finals.

Here are 10 things you absolutely had to know about the playoff history between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks, the NBA’s two remaining charter franchises.

1. All-Time Record
The Celtics and Knicks are meeting for the 13th time in the playoffs. They split the previous 12, unless you count Boston’s 2-0 win in a curious 1954 round robin with the Syracuse Nats. Overall, Boston leads the series 30-27.

2. Common Foes
That’s second all-time to the 18th playoff meetings between Boston and the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers. They have met 18 times, though only once since 1985.

3. The First Time
Boston faced New York for the first time in 1951, when the Knicks beat the Celtics, 2-0 behind Max Zaslofsky, a guard from Brooklyn and St. John’s, who averaged 17.9 points a game.

4. Knicks in the 50s
The Knicks won the first three playoff meetings—in 1951, 1952, and 1953—and advanced to the NBA Finals each year, losing all three times.

5. Eventual Champs
Four times the winner of the Celtics-Knicks playoff series has gone on to win the NBA Championship—Boston in 1969, 1974, and 1984 and New York in 1973.

6. Seventh Heaven
Twice the series has gone seven games, in 1973 and 1984. The Celtics had never lost a Game seven before 1973, but the Knicks marched into Boston Garden and won 94-78 behind Walt Frazier.

7. Larry Legend
The Knicks pushed the Celtics to seven games in 1984, but Boston dominated the finale and won 121-104 behind Larry Bird, right, who averaged a career post-season high 27.5 points that year.

8. King of the Court
Knicks forward Bernard King averaged 29.1 points per game for the Knicks in the 1984 series, the highest single series scoring average in the history of the rivalry.

9. The Last Time
The Celtics and Knicks last met in the playoffs back in the spring of 1990. Paul Pierce was 12 years old and rooting for the Lakers; Carmelo Anthony was in kindergarten.

10. Knicks Break Streak
In 1990, the Knicks rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-five series and won Game five to break a 26-game losing streak over six years at Boston Garden.


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