Re: 1986 all over again?
posted at 10/29/2012 3:46 PM EDT
Don't think the comparison between this years team and the 1986 Celtics is at all apt. The Celtics team was loaded with four Hall of fame players (Bird/Johnson/McHale/Parrish) in their prime and one (Walton) past his. This Celtics team has two hall of fame players (Bird and Pierce) who are both past their primes and only one potential hall of famer (rondo) who is in it. The 85-86 Celtics team had one of the best 8 every assembled, but they were not a deep team. this current celtics team is very deep. in short, the 85-86 celtics are arguably the best team to ever play (and positively in the top 5) and this team in no way resembles that kind of quality. At best they look like the third best team in the league and a solid argument could be made that they are only the 4-6th best team on paper.
In terms of the 85-86 Celts vs. 95-96 Bulls.... While it's true a team (much like a boxer) cannot help the competition it faces, it is also tue that the Celtics faced FAR superior competition in 85-86. With hall of famers Bird, Parish, McHale, DJ, and Walton, Ainge entering his prime, and Sichting and Wedman basically shooting lights out for the entire season this team was a machine and aesthetically played the game as well as I imagine anyone ever has. They went 67-15 and could have easily won over seventy games had they put the petal to the metal. Keep this in mind - the Celtics went 1-5 in thir last six games because they rested their starters. They would have easily won 70 if they hadn't. They then went 15-3 in the playoffs. So their overall record was 82-18 but again could have easily been 85-15 or 86-14.
The 95-96 Bulls went 72-10 and and 12-3 in the playoffs, for a record of 84-13. The Bulls were far more concerned with their regular season and breaking the wins record and by contrast went 5-1 in their last 6 games (The Celtics couldn't have cared less about the regaulr season record). Yes, the Bulls had the best player who ever played in Jordan, a hall of famer in Pippen, and another one in Rodman (one of the greatest rebounders to ever play), but the rest of the team was essentially a bunch of spare parts (though Kukoc, Harper, and Kerr were solid players).
Huge contrast in styles with match-ups galore going on (McHale/Rodman; Bird/Pippen; Jordan/ DJ). All and all I'd say the Celtics had a better front eight, though the biggest advantage IMO is the Walton/ McHale/Parrish/Bird match-up against Wennington/Longley/edwards/Rodman (cartwright was not on this team) - Celtics KILL them down low. Give Bulls the advantage on the perimeter with Jordan/Pippen/Kerr/Harper/Kukoc/Rodman against Bird/DJ/ Ainge/ Sichting/ Wedman, but not enough to overcome the Celtics dominating the paint. It's tough because you have players that aren't really stoppable here - no one is stopping Jordan/McHale/Pippen/Bird/ Parrish so a few of the games might've come down to last minute shots with lots of big shot-makers on the court (including Jordan and Bird, two of the best ever).
I'd take Celts in 6 or 7.