Sports History: Boston Tops Los Angeles, Wins Sixth NBA Championship

By NoontimeSports.com 

It was on this date 57 years ago (April 24, 1963) when the Boston Celtics captured yet another NBA Championship by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Boston outlasted Los Angles, 112-109, in the sixth and final contest of the best of seven game series after capturing the first two meetings in Massachusetts. 

Champs_62_63

The Boston Celtics celebrated their sixth NBA Championships on April 24, 1963, by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. (PHOTO COURTESY: NBA.com/Celtics)

Boston was led by the league’s Most Valuable Player Bill Russell, who guided the Green and White to a 58-22 record, as well as the team’s sixth NBA title in seven seasons. The 58 wins was the most victories recorded by any team during the 1962-63 season.

The Celtics postseason run began with an exciting seven-game series against the Cincinnati Royals, who secured a spot in the Eastern Finals after beating the Syracuse Nationals in the Eastern Semifinals (3-2). Sam Jones highlighted his team’s game seven victory over the Royals by scoring a team-high 47 points on 18 of 27 shooting while Tom Heinsohn added 31 points. 

Boston led Cincinnati, 68-64, at the break before outscoing the visitors, 74-67, in the final two sessions to clinch the series and secure a date with Los Angeles.

The Celtics, which beat the Lakers one year earlier in seven contests, won the first two games before Los Angeles won games three and five. Boston won the fourth game, which was held in California, before winning the sixth contest in the same state five days later.

Tom Heinsohn led the Green and White with 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting to go with nine rebounds and two assists while Tom SandersBob Cousy, and John Havlicek each scored 18 points. Los Angeles’ Jerry West led all scorers with 32 points and Elgin Baylor recorded 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Boston’s winning ways would continue throughout the decade as they would win five more championships, including the 1969 NBA Finals against the Lakers. Boston needed to win the final two games to clinch the series after Los Angeles won three of five contests.


NoontimeSports.com’s Mia Len contributed to today’s ‘On This Date in History’ sports history post. 

Noontime Commentary: It Is Time To Pull The Plug On All Spring Sports

baseball-fallen-accessory-ball-collage-equipment

Is it time to officially pull the plug on all spring sports, including high school games? (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It may be time to pull the plug on spring sports, including all high school games, along with any other leagues or tournaments that were scheduled to start, both this month or over the next few weeks.

Sports will return – I know they will – but playing games to convening along the sidelines to cheer on our hometown student-athletes to storming the gates at Fenway Park just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do during this time of uncertainty. 

We are expecting a “surge” here in Massachusetts, which could have started yesterday or today – who knows? – and it will certainly challenge all of us, as well as our communities, hospitals, health professionals, and everyone else that has bravely stepped up to help combat the spread of COVID-19. And this so-called “surge” – may be the first of many to come? – is certainly a sign that future games and contests will either be canceled or postponed.

Games, which were scheduled for today and yesterday, have already been canceled. Professional leagues like the NBA and NHL are staying optimistic about finishing their respective seasons while the MLB is pondering the thought of playing games in both Arizona and Florida next month.

Meanwhile, there is a slew of college athletes sitting idle – sadly, they will not return to the ice, hardwood, track, baseball or softball diamonds, volleyball courts or lacrosse fields later this spring. Their respective seasons are caputs.

And then there are the high school student-athletes, who are eagerly awaiting an announcement from their state’s Governor to say schools will re-open and spring sports will happen. But sadly, I don’t think high school spring sports will occur, along with any professional or minor league events for quite some time.

The thought of watching our friends and neighbors compete in crowded gymnasiums or local parks just doesn’t seem like a logical plan to me, especially during a time where many, including myself, are seeking some signs of hope, as well as a light at the end of the tunnel. I am an optimist – I always look at the glass half full, not half empty – but from everything I have read, heard or discussed with friends and colleagues within the sports world makes me think (and believe) that games will not be played either next month or in early June. And the thought of games being canceled or postponed weeks from now – i.e. fall sports like football, soccer, field hockey, and others – is also a possibility.

We need to be patient. We need to adhere to the advice of our local (and national) medical workers and scientists. We need to listen to our local Governors, mayors, and town representatives, who are working hard to keep us safe and provide some sense of normalcy to all of us in the coming weeks and months.

Spring sports will return to our lives one day, along with future dinner plans at our favorite neighborhood restaurants to movies, picnics and so much more. But for now, I think it is best to pull the plug and play it safe.

Sports History: Boston Sweeps Minneapolis, Wins Its Second NBA Title

Champs_58_59

The Boston Celtics won their second NBA Championship on April 9th, 1959 against the Minnesota Lakers. (PHOTO COURTESY: NBA.com/Celtics)

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.

Commentary: Are You Ready For Life Without Sports?

Basketball Hoops

Are you ready for life without sports? (PHOTO COURTESY: CubesAndPiii on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Get ready for a few weeks and months without sports – it is going to happen.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), both this week and over the past few weeks, sports are going to take a backseat. And I am fine with that decision.

The health and well-being of our athletes, coaches, team representatives, and of course, the fans, is what matters most during this time.

I know many fans are upset – what will I do without sports? – while others believe the games (and practices) must go on. But I believe the only way we can return to the field and bleachers is by adhering to the advice of our doctors, health officials, and scientists, not angry parents or fans.

The decision to halt professional, college and high school sports was certainly not an easy one, but again, this decision, a domino effect on Thursday after the NBA suspended its season late Wednesday evening, was the right thing to do. And again, I know many, including college and high school seniors, were extremely distraught to hear their dreams of competing for a March Madness title or state championship would not occur, so I sympathize with these men and women, including the high school seniors that may not get a chance to compete this spring on the baseball or softball diamond or even the school’s outdoor track.

So, with really no local games or college basketball to watch today, tomorrow, and Sunday, I guess it is time to embark into a world that won’t include sports, but instead concerns over the well-being of our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

Will we read more books?

Will we binge-watch, both old and new shows?

Will we get outside and soak in the sun (when its nice, of course)?

Or will we just hunker down and wait for the apocalypse of the coronavirus to vanish?

No matter what happens, life will be different – I guarantee it – but as I mentioned earlier today in my ‘Daily Noontime,’ we will persevere and come back stronger. And that is because I am an optimist.

While I know many of you may find life quite boring and odd these next few weeks and months without sports, just remember that our favorite teams and athletes will eventually reemerge. But until that time comes, we just need to smile, laugh, and find something else to do to keep us preoccupied while we anxiously await the return of professional, college, and high school sports.

COVID-19 Cancels March Madness, NCAA Winter & Spring Championships

By Matt Noonan 

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NCAA has decided to cancel both its winter and spring championships for all three divisions, including March Madness, which was supposed to occur next week without fans in the stands.

The announcement of the cancelations was made this afternoon through a statement, which was seen both on the NCAA website and social media. The statement from the NCAA was the following:

Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.

Shortly after the cancelations were announced, D3Hoops.com confirmed both D-III tournaments were canceled, including contests that were scheduled to take place this weekend at Amherst CollegeBowdoin College, and Tufts University.

As noted in the report on D3Hoops.com this afternoon, the Tufts men’s basketball team learned of the news on a bus ride to Brockport, New York. The Jumbos were scheduled to tip-off on Saturday, March 14th against the College of Brockport in the third round of the NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Prior to the NCAA announcement, multiple professional leagues began suspending its current season, including Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Additionally, both Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MLB) announced they would be delaying the start of their respective seasons for two weeks.

Finally, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced they were canceling both its basketball and hockey championships this weekend.