On this day: Russell’s 51 boards; Hondo’s last ASG, Pierce’s last at the Garden
On this day in Boston Celtics history, Hall of Fame Boston big man Bill Russell pulled down an unreal career-high of 51 rebounds on this date back in 1960. Russell would accomplish the feat despite playing the game with a charlie horse that slowed his ability to play — not that it showed up in the box score in any noticeable way — making the feat all the more impressive.
It would be the second-most boards ever pulled down by a player in the league’s history at that time, and it came in a home game at the old Boston Garden against the (then) Syracuse Nationals (now, Philadelphia 76ers).
The Celtics won comfortably in a 124-100 blowout.
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.
It is also the date of iconic Celtics small forward John Havlicek’s last All-Star Game in 1978.
Doug Collins of the Philadelphia 76ers gave Hondo his starting spot so he could retire an All-Star starter.
Havlicek would score 10 points in the mid-season friendly.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Finally, in a weird twist of fate, it is the anniversary of Celtic legend Paul Pierce’s first and last “home” game as a Celtic, if you take some liberty with what counts as a home game.
The first was in his rookie campaign of 1998-99, a 103- 92 loss to the Toronto Raptors, in which the Truth scored an impressive 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The last was not exactly a “home” game by the strictest definition given he was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017 (who were technically once the Celtics, though that is a different story), where Pierce hit a single trey in just 5 minutes of play for Los Angeles in a game Boston won 107-102.
Like Hondo, Pierce went out a starter.
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