The Boston Celtics’ main rivalry has been with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics and the Lakers are two of the NBA’s most historic franchises, and their rivalry has been dubbed “the best in the league.” The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers have played in the NBA Finals 12 times, with the first meeting taking place in 1959. They would go on to dominate the league in the 1960s and 1980s, meeting six times in the 1960s, three times in the 1980s, and twice since 2000 in the Finals.
With 17 championships each, the Lakers and Celtics stand as teams tied for the most in the NBA (5 as the Minneapolis Lakers and 12 as the L.A. Lakers). They have a combined total of 34 championships (or 45 percent) in NBA history. The Celtics and Lakers have respective all-time winning records of .590 and.596 as of 2018. Boston is the only team with an overall winning record over the Lakers as of the close of the 2020–21 season.
Since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird retired in the early 1990s, the rivalry has been less heated. Since 1987, the two clubs only met for the first time in the 2008 NBA Finals, with the Celtics winning the series 4–2. In the 2010 NBA Finals, they met again, with the Lakers winning in seven games.
Knicks and Celtics Rivalry
The Celtics–Knicks rivalry is a rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Celtics and Knicks are two of just three remaining charter organizations from the first Basketball Association of America, which began operations in 1946. The other is the Golden State Warriors.
Both the Celtics and the Knicks were founded as charter franchises of the Basketball Association of America in 1946. They are the two oldest teams currently playing in their original city.
Even prior to the Revolution, New Yorkers and Bostonians have debated the virtues and achievements of their respective cities. They have strived to outdo each in art, science, politics, and practically everything else. The basketball rivalry can be said to have originated from a personal feud between Walter Brown, the original Celtic owner, and Ned Irish, the first president of the Knicks.
Heat and Celtics Rivalry
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat share a long history together. The Celtics will always be one of the team’s major adversaries due to this, and that has changed this season. For years, Boston and Miami have had a squabble. It dates back to the days when LeBron James was up against Boston’s big three.
The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals just three seasons ago. With their victory, the two franchises’ rivalry was reignited.
Both teams made substantial roster changes over the summer, so games should be equally as exciting this season. It should be entertaining to see the two squads compete.
Celtics and 76ers Rivalry
The rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers features two of the most respected and talked about organizations in NBA history. Their feud is legendary, dating back to the early rivalries between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. These teams have always entered the court with extra passion when facing each other and have separately won multiple titles and severally clashing against each other in epic Eastern Conference Final series.
There are various notable moments in their rivalry, such as the time when “Dr. J” and Larry Bird threw punches at each other during a game at Boston Garden on November 9th, 1984. This rivalry has involved various athletes, from Larry Bird to Charles Barkley, who regards the Celtics as his nemesis to this day.
Celtics and Pistons Rivalry
The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons have a rivalry that dates back into the 1980s, with notable figures such as Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Larry Bird, and Bill Laimbeer involved. With the Eastern Conference on the line and a crack at the NBA Championship, the Boston-Detroit rivalry was back in full force in 2008. The Celtics were the team the Pistons had to battle through on their path to back-to-back championships in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and they essentially taught them how to get to the top of the game.
One of the games that intensified this rivalry was the May 10, 2002, semi-final for the Easter Conference game 3. Detroit was beaten by Boston 66-64 in this Isiah-Bird era to record the lowest scoring in the NBA Playoff game since the addition of the 24-second clock in 1955.
Both teams made 35% of their shots from the field. After fouling Detroit’s Chucky Atkins on a 3-pointer with a remaining time of 2.8 seconds and the Celtics leading by four points, Boston guard Kenny Anderson might have become the anti-Bird. Atkins made two free shots and purposefully missed the third. After the horn, teammate Jerry Stackhouse got his hands on the ball and made a game-winning shot from beyond the arc.
Rivalries among teams have been around throughout the 75 years of the NBA. One of the most legendary rivalries in the sport is between the Celtics and the Lakers. These two teams seem to match up in almost every area, from the same number of Championships under their belts to closely following each other closely in an overall number of points. The Celtic-Knicks rivalry can be said to extend beyond the courtyard. The Boston-New York rivalry is between cities that have tried to outdo each other not just in sports but also in art, politics, and science. But the basketball rivalry between the two teams might have just been caused by the personal differences between the original Celtic owner and the first Knick’s president.