On this day: Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn scores 45 on Christmas

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Justin Quinn
·2 min read
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On this day in 1961, Boston Celtics icon Tommy Heinsohn scored 45 points in the Celtics’ 127 – 122 win over the Syracuse Nationals (now, the Philadelphia 76ers) on the road for the holiday.

It remains the record to this day for points scored in a Christmas Day game by a Celtic player (point guards Kyrie Irving and Bob Cousy hold the next two highest scores at 40 and 35 points, respectively), as well as being the most points scored by the Hall of Fame power forward in any game of his career. The Holy Cross product would go on to win his fifth title with the team of eight later that season, but played a game for the ages that holiday tilt first.

Heinsohn's full stat line was 45 points scored on 19-of-36 shooting from the floor in an unrecorded amount of playing time, while hitting 7 of his 9 free throw attempts. Unfortunately for the Celtics history buffs among us, the Union City, New Jersey native's other stats for the night have been lost to the sands of time, evidently unrecorded as was the custom for many counting stats in that era. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K12nddz_WMw

It is also the date of former Celtic center Jarvis Varnado's debut with Boston in 2012. A product of Mississippi State University, Varnado was drafted by the Miami Heat in the 2010 NBA draft, but didn't make the team and instead played overseas and in the G League until the Celtics signed him on Dec. 24 of the same year as his debut. https://twitter.com/thesportsrabbi/status/1271044446126292992?s=20 Varnado played just seconds over a single minute of playing time in the 93 -76 win over the Brooklyn Nets, scoring a lone steal across that short span. How would only play four more games with Boston, averaging 1.2 points per game. [jwplayer myQxo5eY-z6KDnl0B] [lawrence-related id=44740,44733,44728,44724] [listicle id=44702]

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Cleveland
+220+6.5O 212.5
Boston
-278-6.5U 212.5