On this day: Celtics Danny Ainge, Terry Rozier born; Bob Cousy retired
On this day in Boston Celtics history, the team has typically had St. Patrick’s Day off more often than not over the last decade, which is probably fitting given the ties of the team to Boston’s Irish-American community.
But they’ve also had three impressive wins on that day since the start of the “Big Three” era of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, two of which belong to the iterations of the Celtics with that trio on the roster. The most recent such win, in 2017 against the Brooklyn Nets, saw a young Celtics roster emerging from a rebuild secure a tight game with a huge game from forward Jae Crowder.
The Marquette product scored 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with 12 rebounds to lead all scorers 9 of his total coming in the final frame alone. Crowder led Boston to a 98 5 win despite point guard Isaiah Thomas resting for knee soreness, the Georgian stepping up in his absence.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Boston also beat the New York Knicks on that day seven years earlier, winning 109-97 with an excellent effort from Paul Pierce (29 points) and help from Garnett (22 points).
It was the most points the duo had combined for that season, both having missed considerable time in the second half of the season to injury.
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
“There were a lot of toos out there,” Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni said at the time (via the Associated Press).
“They were too big, too quick, too good, and the road trip a little too long”.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Boston also defeated the San Antonio Spurs 93-91 on this day in 2008 with a balanced outing from Pierce (22 points and 8 boards), KG (21 points and 8 rebounds), and point guard Rajon Rondo (20 points and 6 assists).
Reserve guard Sam Cassell added 17 points and 5 boards off the bench in the come-from-behind win against the then-defending champions.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
“The Spurs, they’re a well-oiled machine. We knew they were going to come in fired up,” said Garnett at the time (via ESPN).
“They lost some games as of late and any champion is going to come out with its haymakers.”
The picture (undated) shows American basketball player Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics during a basketball session. (Photo by – / AFP)
It is the 57th anniversary of the retirement of Celtic great Bob Cousy, who left the game at 34 in a ceremony held at Boston Garden famous for a fan breaking Cousy’s awkward silence in his emotion-choked retirement speech by shouting, “We love ya Cooz!”.
The legendary Boston point guard even received a message from then-president John. F. Kennedy stating, “The game bears an indelible stamp of your rare skills and competitive daring” (via author Gary M. Pomerantz in “The Last Pass”).
Cousy would win seven titles with Boston, be elected the league’s Most Valuable Player, and would get 13 invitations to the NBA All-Star games, one of the greatest to play the game and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
(AP Photo/Paul Benoit)
Today is also the birthday of team president and former Celtics two-time champion Danny Ainge, who was born this day in 1959 in Eugene, Oregon.
A multi-sport high school star athlete, Ainge was drafted out of BYU by the Celtics with the 31st overall pick of the 1981 NBA draft and had to be bought out of his contract with the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball, with whom the Oregon native had already begun playing.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Ainge would go on to win titles with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986 as well as an All-Star bid in 1988 before being dealt to the Sacramento Kings in 1989.
He would return to take over as the team’s general manager in 2003 after getting into coaching with the Phoenix Suns after he retired as a player.
The BYU alum averaged 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a Celtic.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Finally, it is also former Boston and current Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier’s birthday, who was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1994.
Rozier played collegiately for Louisville, drafted by the Celtics with the 16th pick of the 2015 NBA draft.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Rozier would play four seasons with Boston before being dealt to the Charlotte Hornets in a double sign-and-trade for Kemba Walker in 2018.
He logged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game with Boston.
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