While the Boston Celtics were at a crisis point in 1984, the team’s new player-coach Cedric Maxwell brought them back to success. The on-court chemistry and successful rebuilding of the franchise made for an interesting story that has been well chronicled in books and movies over time.
Cedric Maxwell and the 1984 Boston Celtics were a reporter’s dream on and off the court. The team was led by Larry Bird, who won three MVPs in his career, as well as John Havlicek and Bill Russell. They finished the season with an impressive 61-21 record.
Larry Bird famously declared that he’d put his championship-winning Boston Celtics squad up against anybody. While that team was as talented as any, Bird’s 1984 squad may have been the most enjoyable. Cedric Maxwell was a significant player on the floor for the 1984 Celtics, particularly in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Maxwell, like Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy, was a reporter’s fantasy off the court. The ’84 Celtics were not only dominant on the court, but they were also a lot of fun to be around off it.
The Boston Celtics were fortunate to win the NBA title in 1984.
During Game 5 of the second round of the 1984 NBA playoffs, the Celtics’ Cedric Maxwell, center, and Gerald Henderson, right, guard New York Knicks great Bernard King. | Getty Images/John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe
Despite having by far the greatest record in the NBA, the ’84 Celtics were fortunate to win their second title of the decade. That’s because, despite outplaying them in the NBA Finals, the Lakers managed to lose the series.
After ending the regular season with a 62-20 record, the Celtics earned homecourt advantage. The Lakers won by a score of 54-28. Because the NBA hadn’t yet adopted the 2-3-2 Finals format, the seven games were played in the old 2-2-1-1-1 format.
With a 115-109 win in Game 1, the Lakers snatched the homecourt advantage. The Celtics were on their way to a 2-0 series lead when Gerald Henderson came to the rescue. With 18 seconds remaining in Game 2, the Lakers had a 113-111 lead, but Henderson intercepted a James Worthy pass meant for Byron Scott and ran in for the game-tying basket. In overtime, the Celtics triumphed 124-121.
Bird chastised his teammates for their lackluster performance after the Lakers humiliated the Celtics 137-104 at home. When the Celtics trailed 76-70 in Game 4, they needed Kevin McHale to memorably clothesline Kurt Rambis. The Celtics took advantage of the momentum shift to win 129-125 and even the series.
The teams battled it out for the remainder of the series, with Maxwell coming through in Game 7 at home. Maxwell famously instructed his teammates to hop on his back, which they did, and he carried them to victory. He scored 24 points to lead the Celtics to a 111-102 victory.
The 1984 Celtics and Cedric Maxwell were a reporter’s dream team.
6 June 1984 – The Celtics won Game 4 of the NBA Finals in overtime to square the series at 2-2.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 8, 2021
The Celtics of 1984 had skill, but they also had personalities. They were just as entertaining off the court as they were on it. Shaughnessy said that his favorite team to cover was the 1983-84 squad.
“The Red Sox winning the World Series in ’04, coming back from the Yanks 3-0, you know biblical 86 years, that’s the best overall story I ever covered,” Shaughnessy said in a video with Maxwell, posted by NBA History & Legends on CLNS. “The best team and the best single event I covered is the ’84 Finals, Celtics Lakers. All those Hall of Famers, the back and forth, the 2-2-1-1-1 format, the trash-talking, McHale’s takedown, Max hop on my back, all that stuff.”
When a reporter asked them a question, they always gave an honest response, according to Maxwell. They weren’t afraid to tell it like it was. He inquired of Shaughnessy whether the fact that their staff was so transparent with everything made his work more enjoyable.
“Did the fact that we were so open at the time give you so much pleasure as a broadcaster and a writer?” Shaughnessy was the one who asked Maxwell. “We’d tell you everything you wanted to know.” You’d best be ready because, unlike the athletes today, we’re going to tell you the truth.”
There was no other squad like it, according to Shaughnessy.
He stated, “It was the only squad I’d ever covered that was like that.” “Talking to boxers was the only other time you encountered that kind of honesty and sincerity.” Boxers have a habit of speaking in this manner.
“That entire team would do it: Max, M.L. (Carr), McHale, Danny (Ainge).” It was gold for us when Larry would do it on occasion. K.C. (head coach K.C. Jones) failed miserably. He was the polar opposite. He was wise in allowing these men to be themselves.”
Maxwell once said something to Shaughnessy that he felt he wouldn’t publish, but he was incorrect.
This Day in Knicks History: Bernard King went off for 44 points and pushed for a Game 7 vs. the Celtics in the 1984 Playoffs 👑 pic.twitter.com/GhmoIaddGl
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) May 11, 2020
Maxwell told Shaughnessy about a tale that had taught him a valuable lesson. Despite having learnt a lesson, he continued to say whatever was on his mind.
“Before they played us, Bernard King had been scoring like crazy against Detroit,” Maxwell remarked. “They win the series and come to play us,” says the narrator. All of these tales on Bernard King are being written. ‘Hey, Bernard King scored 40 points a game, what are you going to do about it?’ says Dan Shaughnessy.
‘Ain’t no b**** that walks like this going to get 40 points on me,’ I muttered as I gazed at him. ‘I’m going to have to write it down,’ Dan said, looking at me. ‘I don’t give a s***,’ I replied. If you want to, write it down.’
“The following day, he published it in the newspaper. K.C. had gone insane. Bernard King had gone insane. That was a lesson I learned about where a reporter may go. You answered, “Well, I am,” when I said, “Go ahead and write it down.” I didn’t think you were going to really write it down.”
Shaughnessy recalled the incident vividly.
He remarked, “That was a fantastic moment.” “Of course, we traveled to New York, where the Celtics shut him down for a few of games,” he said. In Game 4, he scored 40 points, and the back cover of the New York Post read, “The B**** Is Back.”
Cedric Maxwell Said His Pee-Wee Basketball Failure Prepared Him for a Big Game 7 Against the ‘Los Angeles Fakers’ in the 1984 NBA Finals
- boston celtics record
- boston celtics roster
- celtics roster