By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen helped Paul Pierce deliver the Boston Celtics’ 17th NBA Championship banner in 2008, the last great run came from the Larry Bird era in 1986. Along with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson and others, the 1985-86 Celtics put together one of the league’s all-time great seasons.
I was still months away from being born when Bird led the Celtics to their third championship of the 1980s, so for me personally, all I have to enjoy the brilliance of Bird and the ’80s Celtics is the trove of classic clips hiding on Youtube. Of all the Bird highlights available, few are more entertaining to watch than his triple-double against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 17, 1986, which you can watch in the above video. Bird finished the game with 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Bird’s incredible court vision and passing were on full display in this particular masterpiece. In the play you’ll see in just about any Bird highlight reel, Bird dove and snagged a loose ball then quickly fired off a pass to Kevin McHale from on his backside. He also made a nifty over-the-shoulder dish to Robert Parish and a heady tip-pass to McHale off a rebound, as well as several other great passes to the paint. The ’86 Celtics’ passing as a team, in general, is a sight to behold in this clip.
Bird was, of course, best known for his clutch pinpoint shooting, and he did it in this game. He gave the Celtics their first lead with a late jumper then iced the game with a three-point dagger to put the Celtics up 10 points with just over two minutes remaining.
No. 33’s all-around dominance literally showcased itself in this classic triple-double. It’s an essential clip for any Celtics fan to check out, along with just about any video where Bird handles a basketball – whether you were too young to witness or appreciate the greatness, or you just want to relive one of the most historic eras of an organization rich with history.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.