On this day: Celtics beat Pistons in G1 of ’08 ECF; Enes Freedom, Dick Mehen born

On this day in Boston Celtics history, the team would lose a single player to the newly-formed (then) New Orleans (now, Utah) Jazz expansion team in the 1974 NBA expansion draft.

That player — Steve Kuberski — a big man the Celtics drafted out of Bradley with the 52nd overall pick of the 1969 NBA draft, would go on to win two championships with the franchise in 1974, and1976 during the first of two stints with Boston over his eight seasons with the team. Kuberski was the last player to wear jersey No. 33 before Larry Bird arrived in 1979.

He would return to the Celtics as a free agent in 1975 after being dealt by the Jazz to the Milwaukee Bucks, who waived him.

Boston Celtics center Steve Kuberski (33) against the Cleveland Cavilers. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.

Kuberski would play another short stint with the (then) Buffalo Braves (now, Los Angeles Clippers), who also waived him.

The Illinois native logged 5.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 0.6 assists while with the team.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It is also the birthday of former Boston big man Dick Mehen, who came to Boston in a trade sending back Kenny Sailors and Brady Walker to the Baltimore Bullets in 1950.

Mehen would play just seven games for the Celtics, averaging 6.3 points, 3.7 boards, and 1.6 assists.

He would be traded that same season to the (then) Fort Wayne (Indiana, now Detroit) Pistons in exchange for forward Bob Harris.

Feb 25, 2020; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside (21) fouls Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (11) during the second half at Moda Center. The Boston Celtics won 118-106. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

It is the birthday of former Celtic center Enes Kanter Freedom as well.

Born this day in 1992 in Zurich, Switzerland to Turkish nationals, the outspoken big man would sign with Boston in free agency in the summer of 2019 after stints with the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, and Portland Trail Blazers.

Aug 19, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reaches for a steal against Enes Kanter #11 of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game two of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kevin C. Cox/USA TODAY Sports

After a season with the Celtics, Kanter would return to the Trail Blazers in a three-team trade also involving the Memphis Grizzlies and draft assets, only to return to the team for 35 more games in the 2021-22 season before being dealt with Bruno Fernando and Dennis Schroder to the Houston Rockets for Daniel Theis.

He averaged 6.4 points, as many rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game while with the team, and was well-known for his politically active voice on many things while in Boston.

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts to a basket by Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, not in the photo, in front of Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince (22) in the second half during Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals in Boston, Tuesday, May 20, 2008. The Celtics beat the Pistons 88-79. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Finally, it is the anniversary of an 88-79 win over the Pistons in Game 1 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics remained unbeaten at home in the postseason run to Banner 17 with 26 points and 9 boards for Kevin Garnett and 22 points, 6 rebounds, and as many assists from Paul Pierce as well.

Boston Celtics’ Ray Allen drives past Detroit Piston’s Antonio McDyess (24), Rodney Stuckey (3), and Jason Maxiell during Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference final basketball series in Boston Tuesday, May 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

“They haven’t lost a game; they should be confident,” said former Celtic guard Chauncey Billups via ESPN.

“They have been very good here at home. We are usually a really good team; we didn’t have a good game today, but we look forward to Thursday,” he added.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire