Can Celtics-Lakers Push the Envelope?Posted: June 11, 2010
Are the Celtics and Lakers on a collision course to a Game Seven? Maybe so.
Incredibly, NBA fans have witnessed just one Game Seven in the NBA Finals in the past 16 years, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs over the Detroit Pistons in 2005. Before that, turn back the clock to June 22, 1994, when Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks to win their first NBA championship.
Clang — that’s the sound of John Starks missing another three-pointer on his way to a 2-for-18 (0-for11 on threes) shooting performance that doomed the Knicks that night. Patrick Ewing would never come closer to a ring.
Since the NBA began play in 1946, there have been 16 seventh games in the NBA Finals. The Celtics and Lakers have played four previous winner-take-all games, with Boston winning each time — in 1962, 1966, 1969 and 1984.
Celtics 7-0 in Seventh Games
The Celtics have never lost a Game Seven in the finals. They’re a perfect 7-0. Boston beat the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks to win the championship in 1957 and again in 1960, and stopped the Milwaukee Bucks in 1974.
The Lakers are 3-5 overall in Game 7 finals, with wins against the Knicks in 1952 and the Syracuse Nationals in 1954, when the franchise called Minneapolis home, and in 1988 against the Detroit Pistons.
Los Angeles’ other Game 7 loss came in 1970, the Willis Reed game, when Walt Frazier produced one of the great Game 7 performances in history, 36 points and 19 assists.
In the first NBA Game Seven, in 1951, the Rochester Royals defeated the Knicks after New York rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force a decisive game.
NHL, MLB Game Sevens
The NHL has seen 15 seventh games since the league went to that format in 1939. Notably, five of those showdown games have occured since 2001, with Colorado, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Pittsburgh each winning one.
The Chicago BlackHawks, who ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought by beating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games, lost Game Seven finales to Montreal in both 1965 and 1971.
In the NHL’s first Game Seven in 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings.
Major league baseball has had 35 seventh games, the last in 2002 when the Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants for their only World Series win.