Game 1 of NBA Finals has produced many memorable Celtics moments

Game 1 of NBA Finals has produced many memorable Celtics moments originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics will host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden on Thursday night. It will be the 23rd Finals appearance for the Celtics and the 18th in which they've had homecourt advantage.

The C's are 15-2 in NBA Finals series when they've had homecourt advantage. Boston is 15-7 all time in Game 1 of the Finals, including a 13-4 record at home.

The Celtics have won five of their last six Game 1s of the Finals at home, and four of those five victories were by 10-plus points.

These series-opening games have produced many memorable moments and performances.

Let's take a look at notable NBA Finals Game 1s in Celtics history.

1960 NBA Finals

  • Balanced attack powers C's to win

The Celtics defeated the St. Louis Hawks 140-122 with a total team effort. Four Celtics players -- Tom Heinsohn (24), Bill Sharman (23), Frank Ramsey (21) and Bob Cousy (20) -- scored 20 or more points. Boston's 140 points is the fifth-most in a Finals game.

Boston won the series in seven games to claim back-to-back titles for the first time.

1963 NBA Finals

  • Bill Russell dominates at both ends the floor

The Celtics earned a 117-114 win to begin the series thanks to Bill Russell, who scored 25 points and grabbed 29 rebounds in 47 minutes. Sam Jones led the Celtics with 29 points, while also tallying 15 rebounds and seven assists. Boston won the first two matchups against the Lakers at home and ultimately won the series in six games.

1969 NBA Finals

  • C's lose by two despite Havlicek's brilliance

Celtics star John Havlicek scored 37 points with 12 rebounds in Game 1 of the 1969 Finals in Los Angeles, but the rival Lakers emerged with a 120-118 win thanks to Jerry West. The Hall of Fame guard scored 53 points -- the most ever in Game 1 of the Finals and the fourth-highest in any Finals game.

1976 NBA Finals

  • Dave Cowens' triple-double carries C's to victory

The Celtics beat the Suns 98-87 on the strength of Hall of Fame center Dave Cowens, who posted a triple-double with 25 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists. He also played all 48 minutes. Jo Jo White, who ended up winning Finals MVP, scored 22 points in the Game 1 victory. Boston won the series in six games, including a triple-overtime win in Game 5 at the old Garden.

1981 NBA Finals

  • Larry Bird follows his own shot in Celtics' win vs. Rockets

Larry Bird's first Finals game was a memorable one. It produced one of the most iconic plays in playoff history in the fourth quarter when Bird followed his own shot, jumped for the rebound and scored from a crazy angle along the baseline. It has been a staple of Finals highlight reels ever since.

The Celtics won the series in six games.

1985 NBA Finals

  • C's dominate Lakers, win by 34 points

The Celtics opened the Finals with a near-perfect performance, beating the rival Lakers 148-114. Boston's 148 points are the most ever by a team in a Finals game.

Five players scored at least 19 points for the Celtics, including Scott Wedman off the bench. He scored 26 points on a perfect 11-for-11 shooting (4-for-4 from 3-point range).

Unfortunately for the Celtics, this was their only home win of the series. The Lakers took Game 2 and eventually won the title with a Game 6 victory in Boston, becoming the first visiting team ever to clinch a championship at the old Garden.

1986 NBA Finals

  • C's starters put on a clinic vs. Rockets

The Celtics beat the Rockets 112-100 led by a remarkable outing from their starting five. All five Boston starters scored at least 18 points, led by Robert Parish's 23. Larry Bird scored 21 points with 13 assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Dennis Johnson chipped in 19 points with 11 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

The Celtics won all three home games in the series, including a championship-clinching rout in Game 6.

2008 NBA Finals

This matchup was the Celtics' first Finals home game since Game 5 in 1987.

Celtics forward Paul Pierce appeared to injure his knee with 6:55 left in the third quarter and the Lakers up 62-58. He was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair, but he returned after a short absence and hit a couple 3-pointers late in the third quarter to give the Celtics a lead they would protect the rest of the game. Pierce finished with 22 points, 19 of which came in the second half.

Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 24 points, including a massive put-back dunk over Pau Gasol with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter that brought the Garden crowd to its feet and sealed the win.

The Celtics won the series in six games for their first championship in 22 years.

2022 NBA Finals

  • C's overcome deficit with huge fourth quarter

The Celtics needed an epic comeback to win their first Finals game in 12 years, and that's exactly what unfolded. The C's trailed 92-80 after three quarters, but they won 120-108 after outscoring the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter. Boston became the first team in Finals history to trail by 10 after three quarters and win the game by 10 or more points.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, they lost four of the next five games and lost the series.