By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation
The ninth day of April has special meaning to the Boston Celtics. It was on this date 61 years ago that the Green and White celebrated its second NBA Championship with a four-game sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers.
Boston’s win over Minneapolis erased memories of the 1958 NBA Championship, which saw the St. Louis Hawks beat Boston in six games (4-2).
The Celtics entered the 1959 postseason as the top team in the Eastern Division – Boston had won 52 of 72 contests and averaged a league-best 116.4 points per game. Additionally, the 52 wins were the most recorded by any of the eight teams.
Prior to advancing to the franchises’ third-straight NBA Championship, Boston needed all seven contests to beat the Syracuse Nationals in the Eastern Division Finals. Boston won the odd contests – games one, three, five, and seven – while Syracuse captured games two, four, and six.
Bill Russell highlighted his team’s game seven victory over the Nationals by recording a double-double of 18 points and 32 rebounds to go with two assists. Tom Heinsohn chipped in 20 points and 13 caroms while Frank Ramsey paced the Celtics with 28 points on 11 of 24 shooting.
Boston trailed Syracuse, 68-60, at the break before outscoring the visitors, 70-57, in the second half.
The five-point (130-125) win over the Nationals seemed to provide the Celtics with a great deal of momentum as they would go onto sweep the Minneapolis Lakers and clinch the series on April 9, 1959, with a 118-113 victory.
Bill Russell concluded the four-game series averaging 29.5 rebounds per game while Sharman netted a game-high 28 points in game two.
Minneapolis’ Elgin Baylor averaged 22.75 points per game – he did record game-highs of 34 and 30 points in the first and final game, respectively. Boston limited the 1958-59 Rookie of the Year to just 13 points in game two and 14 in game three.
The win over the Lakers would be followed by additional championships and celebrations as the Celtics became the team to beat in the 1960s, winning nine of ten titles between 1960 and 1969.