Thursday, March 23 2023

On this day in Boston Celtics history, the newly-formed professional basketball franchise the Boston Celtics played their first home game in 1946 in the Basketball Association of America (BAA – a precursor league to the NBA) in team history.

The game was an inauspicious loss, 57-55 to the now-defunct Chicago Stags (not be confused with the later franchise of that city, the Bulls), which saw two of the Celtics break double figures. One of the pair was guard Johnny Simmons, who scored 13 points on 6 field goals and a free throw, though we don’t know how efficiently since that and many aspects of the game were yet to be recorded in those early years of the sport.

Forward Wyndol Gray scored 12 points as well, and future star of television and film Chuck Connors added 8 points in the loss.

It is also former Celtic center Bill Walton’s birthday, born today in 1952 in La Mesa, California.

A UCLA product, Walton was taken first overall in the 1974 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and would play for that team and the (then) San Diego Clippers (now, Los Angeles) before being dealt to the Celtics for Cedric Maxwell.

Walton had engineered the trade himself after reaching out to the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston, with Boston being more inclined to take on the risk of his frequent injuries.

The UCLA product would win a title with the team that season (and take the team to see the Grateful Dead that fall on his birthday), playing for the Celtics for 90 games spread over two seasons.

(AP Photo/Steve Pyle)

He would average 7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game with Boston.

There were also several player debuts on this date.

Glenn Cratty /Allsport

Center Dino Radja played his first game for Boston on this date in 1993 in a 111-108 loss to the New York Knicks in which Radja scored 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block.

It was also big man Acie Earl’s first game with the team, in which he logged 15 points to go with his 4 boards and a steal.

Celtics center Ramón Rivas debuted for the team in 1988 in a 129-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on this date as well.

Rivas pulled down 3 rebounds while missing both of his field-goal attempts.

Jim LoscutoffJim Loscutoff

Jim Loscutoff

(AP Photo/Gene Herrick)

33 years to the day earlier, forwards Dick Hemric and Jim Loscutoff played his first minutes for the team in 1955 in a 98-87 win over the (then) Philadelphia (now, Golden State) Warriors.

The Wake Forest product scored 5 points, going 2-for-4 from the floor, while the future seven-time champ Loscy got 3 points and 2 assists.

Finally, it is also the date of former Celtics center Gene Englund’s passing in 1995.

An alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, Englund signed with the Celtics as a free agent at the start of the 1949-50 NBA season, who he played 24 games for before being dealt to the (then) Tri-Cities Blackhawks (now, Atlanta Hawks).

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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