Bucks Diary

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

When the Celtics and Bucks were Kings


The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics shared somewhat parallel lives in the 1970s and 1980s. The Celtics successes were clearly greater, but both stood at the pinnacle of the NBA. And as such, they both engaged in some legendary post-season battles at the old Milwaukee Arena and the old Boston Garden.

The 1974 NBA Finals, when the Celtics won the World Championship in seven games and essentially ended the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era in Milwaukee; the 1983 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, when the brooms came out at the Milwaukee Arena and the Bucks handed the Celtics their first ever sweep defeat in an NBA play-off series, forcing the Celtics into personnel changes that led directly to their near domination of the rest of the 1980s; the 1984 Eastern Conference Finals when the new-look Celtics gained revenge by defeating an eminently talented Bucks team 4-1, thereby ending another great era of Bucks basketball as Bob Lanier retired and early the next season Marques Johnson and Junior Bridgeman were sent packing to the Clippers; the 1986 Eastern Conference Finals when perhaps the greatest Boston Celtics team of all-time simply outclassed the Bucks in a four game sweep; and finally, the last year of greatness for both teams, when their 80s rivalry came full circle in the 1987 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Bucks, with John Lucas and Sidney Moncrief in their backcourt, gave the fading Larry Bird Celtics everything they could handle before succumbing in seven games to the eventual Eastern Conference champions. It was a fitting end to a great era of basketball between the teams.

Those are all just yellowing memories now. The Boston Garden is gone. The Milwaukee Arena hasn't seen an NBA game since 1988. And now the once-great teams who used to occupy those venerable gyms are set to meet in an ignominious Valentine's Day "lowdown" at someplace called the "Fleet Center" in Boston. It ain't right, somehow... but its fitting.

The Celtics are targeting tomorrow's game as their last desperate attempt to stave off what could become, if they lose to the struggling Bucks, an NBA record losing streak.

I watched some of those legendary battles in the 1980s from the unique vantage point of the "Middle Parquet" at the Milwaukee Arena. When I watch tomorrow night's game from the cold comfort of my "Front Parquet" couch, part of me will be remembering what once was between these two proud franchises, and trying to forget what has become of them.

Photo Credit: Jsonline.com

3 Comments:

At February 13, 2007 at 3:28 PM, Blogger laserbomb said...

A look back is nice when the present's frustrating and the future isn't worth thinking about, thanks.

 
At February 13, 2007 at 5:00 PM, Anonymous Bring on Larry K said...

I'm not even going to watch games any longer. They only anger me to the point where I'm yelling at the TV. When I attend games, I have to get drunk to keep myself from yelling out loud. Except if I happen to see Stotts and that dumb expressionless mug of his I just feel my blood boil.

 
At February 14, 2007 at 8:24 AM, Blogger Sky Hook said...

I agree, especially after last night's game

 

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