Through the years, no team has been the cause of more anguish and suffering for Philadelphia 76ers fans than the hated Boston Celtics.
For many years, the Eastern Conference ran through both storied franchises. NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell had epic matchups in the 1960’s — two larger than life titans dueling for basketball supremacy. For some 76ers fans that marked the beginning of their obsession with basketball and where the seeds of their hatred for Boston were first planted.
In the 1980’s, a new era of basketball was taking over, but the two teams at the top of the standings remained the same. Julius “Dr. J” Erving led the 76ers into battle against the Celtics in the playoffs five times from 1977-1985.
Even in 2012, years removed from the once great bouts between Eastern Conference heavyweights, we were treated to a seven-game playoff series in which the upstart 76ers gave the veteran Celtics all they could handle.
It’s a rivalry that spawned incredible moments in NBA folklore: “Havlicek stole the ball”; “The Boston Strangler”; “BEAT L.A. Chants”; Dr. J and Larry Bird choking each other. They’ve met 526 times over the course of their storied history, including 19 postseason series.
With both teams rebuilding, in search of long-term assets to help reassert themselves as contenders in the East, it’s only right to take a look back at the past. At a rivalry which has given so much to basketball.
Here’s the 76ers-Celtics rivalry through the years.