46 years ago, the greatest game in NBA history

45 years ago, a game was played that many consider the greatest game in history. Indeed during this game, Rick Barry who was in the comments launched:

“the most exciting basketball game I have ever seen”

No spectator present at the Boston Garden that day would have denied his statements.

This match took place on June 4, 1976 at the Boston Garden, and pitted the Boston Celtics against the Phoenix Suns in the 5th NBA Finals game. The series was then tied 2-2 and the game was going to be as undecided as the start of the finals. Quite simply the most undecided finals match in history, with totally incredible twists and turns.

This Game 5 could not have left such a trace in history if at the end of regulation time, John Havlicek hadn’t missed the winning free throw at 95-95 with 19 seconds left, nor the next shot after the offensive rebound. At that time, it was still necessary to note the return of Phoenix under the impetus of Paul Westhpal, who had been 22 points behind. The Suns had even taken the lead for the first time in the game in the last minute before Havlicek scored one of his two shots.

During overtime, after making a mini-break, the Celtics once again saw the Suns come back up to 101-101. In the second overtime, the Suns took a one-point lead on a shot from Curtis Perry 5 seconds from the end 109-108 after a few crazy seconds. But the most unthinkable was about to happen. The Celtics got the throw-in at midfield and John Havlicek (who had failed in regulation time and overtime) rushed to the basket to score with a jump shot with the board, 110-109. The siren had then sounded and Celtics supporters invaded the field to celebrate the victory of their people at the buzzer.

“We were running happy on the pitch, because we thought we had won” declared Paul Silas.

But the match wasn’t actually over! The referees indicated, somehow, that there was still a second to play. The invasion of the pitch even resulted in a scene that CBS commentator Brent Musberger described:

“A fight with Richie Powers (note: referee of the match), Richie Powers is fighting with a fan! »

After a few minutes of chaos, the game could finally resume with a second to play and the ball for the Suns. A strange scene then occurred since Paul Westphal asked for a timeout knowing he had none left. The Suns got a technical and Boston scored his free throw to lead 112-110. The trick was that the ball now returned to the Suns in midfield and not in their court. The Suns players could not take the throw-in, however, hampered by Celtics fans on the field. It was finally the police who had to hold back the spectators to allow Curtis Perry to put the ball in play. He served Gar Heard at the head of the racket and the latter climbed on his supports and propelled the ball into the circle, 3th prolongation !!

On comments, Brent Musberger said:

“It’s a good thing it’s Friday night. Children you don’t have to go to school tomorrow. Ask your dad to bring you another Coca-Cola”

It was finally in the 3rd overtime that the Celtics made the break definitively by bringing the score to 128-122 thanks to the unexpected Glenn McDonald, more accustomed to the bench than to the honors of money time. Despite a return to 2 points, the Suns had to bow in this game which would later be described as “the greatest game ever”

For the record, the Celtics won the title and forever gave regrets to the Suns and their supporters

Summary of the game:



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