As they prepare for their 37th Game 7, here’s how the Celtics have fared in each of the 36 other Game 7s in franchise history

No team in NBA history has played in more Game 7s than the Celtics, who've done astonishingly well in win-or-go-home games.

The Celtics Jayson Tatum acknowledges and encourages the cheeres of the crowd as he leaves the game in the fourth quarter, having scored 51 points in the game. The Boston Celtics hosted the Philadelphia 76ers for Game Seven of their NBA Eastern Conference Semi Final basketball series at the TD Garden.
Jayson Tatum set a new NBA record for the most points scored in a Game 7. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

History is on the Celtics’ side entering Monday’s Game 7 against the Heat.

No team has won more Game 7s than the Celtics (27) and while they’ve played the most Game 7s in NBA history (36), they also have the highest winning percentage among all teams that have played in multiple Game 7s (.750).

The Celtics’ current group of stars has fared well in Game 7s, too. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are 6-1 in Game 7s over their careers while Jayson Tatum has gone 5-1 in Game 7s in his career.

One of those Game 7 wins for the current Celtics’ core came against the Heat in a similar spot just one year ago. They defeated the Heat in Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference finals to secure an NBA Finals berth. Monday will mark the sixth time in NBA history that two teams will face each other in a Game 7 in back-to-back seasons.


Let’s take a brief look at each of the 36 Game 7s the Celtics have played in their franchise’s history before they play their 37th Game 7 on Monday.

1957 NBA Finals vs. St. Louis Hawks

Boston won its first of 17 NBA titles in franchise history with a 125-123 double-overtime win. Long before his days as an announcer, Tommy Heinsohn helped ring the Celtics’ dynasty of the ‘50s and ‘60s, scoring 37 points and grabbing 23 rebounds in the deciding game.

1959 Eastern Division finals vs. Syracuse Nationals

A team effort helped the Celtics outlast the Nationals with five players scoring at least 18 points and Bill Russell securing 32 rebounds in the 130-125 win, helping them advance to the Finals where they won their second title.

1960 NBA Finals vs. St. Louis Hawks

Frank Ramsey scored a team-high 24 points while Russell scored 22 points and grabbed 35 rebounds in the 122-103 win, securing Boston its third title.

1962 Eastern Division Finals vs. Philadelphia Warriors

Bill Russell came out victorious in his first Game 7 against Wilt Chamberlain, scoring 19 points and grabbing 22 boards as Sam Jones pitched in 28 points in the 109-107 win.

1962 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers

It took seven games plus overtime to determine the winner of the first Celtics-Lakers Finals matchup. Laker guard Frank Selvy missed a 12-foot jumper with five seconds left in regulation that would’ve won Los Angeles the title. Instead, the game went to overtime and the Celtics won 110-107 behind Russell’s 40 rebounds, tying his record for the most in an NBA Finals game that still stands today.


1963 Eastern Division finals vs. Cincinnati Royals

Sam Jones scored 47 points, which is tied for the third-most in a Game 7 in NBA history, as the Celtics won 142-131. The win helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals, where they won yet another title and helped send Bob Cousy into retirement as a champion.

Bob Cousy and Bill Russell shared an embrace following their 1963 Game 7 win over the Royals.

1965 Eastern Division finals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Jones stepped up big again, scoring 37 points while Russell grabbed 29 rebounds and had eight assists in the 110-109 win. But John Havlicek was the one that made a play for the ages, stealing a 76ers inbounds pass in the final seconds that clinched the game for the Celtics.

1966 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Celtics completed their eight-straight title-winning season by beating the Lakers, 95-93, in Game 7. Russell scored 25 points and grabbed 32 rebounds in what was Red Auerbach’s final game as a head coach.

1968 Eastern Division finals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

After losing to them in the season prior, the Celtics got their revenge on the 76ers with Jones scoring 22 points to go along with Russell’s 12 points and 26 rebounds in the 100-96 win.

1969 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers’ had all their plans set in place for their first title win against the Celtics. But they didn’t put the plan into action because John Havlicek scored 26 points and Don Nelson made a desperation jump shot right before the shot clock expired with a minute left to put the Celtics up by three with just over a minute left. The Celtics went on to win 108-106, giving Russell his 11th title in his final NBA game.

1974 NBA Finals vs. Milwaukee Bucks


The Celtics won their first title without Russell with a relatively easy Game 7 win. They were able to slow down Kareem-Abdul Jabar as Dave Cowens scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds en route to a 102-89 win.

1977 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Celtics lost their first Game 7 in franchise history as Cowens’s 27 rebounds weren’t enough as World B. Free scored 27 points off the bench for an 83-77 76ers win.

1981 Eastern Conference finals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Celtics completed the 3-1 series comeback in dramatic fashion. Larry Bird scored 23 points, including a jump shot that put the Celtics up 91-89 with 29 seconds left. Mo Cheeks split a pair of free throws, giving Boston a 91-90 win.

1982 Eastern Conference finals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia got its revenge a year later, defeating Boston 120-106. With the game not being close, fans at the Boston Garden broke out the inaugural “Beat LA” chant in hopes the 76ers would defeat the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

1984 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. New York Knicks

The Celtics were able to survive a second-round scare from Bernard King and the Knicks behind Bird’s 39-point performance in Game 7, winning 121-104.

1984 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The first Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Finals culminated in a Celtics Game 7 win. Cedric Maxwell’s 24 points plus a steal with just over a minute left helped Boston hold off Los Angeles for a 111-102 victory.

1987 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Bird stepped up again in another Game 7, scoring a game-high 31 points as he played the entirety of the Celtics’ 119-113 win.


1987 Eastern Conference finals vs. Detroit Pistons

Two games after Bird’s legendary steal and Dennis Johnson’s game-winning layup that won the Celtics Game 5, the Celtics finished off the Pistons. They needed another full 48-minute performance from Bird, who scored 37 points, to win 117-114.

1988 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Atlanta Hawks

This Game 7 featured two of the best individual head-to-head performances in NBA history. Bird and Dominique Wilkins traded buckets for much of the fourth quarter of the game. Wilkins finished with a game-high 47 points, but it was Bird’s 20-point fourth quarter that won out as Boston won 118-116.

1992 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Bird didn’t have one last form of Game 7 magic in him. Dealing with back problems for much of the season and series, Bird scored just 12 points in what ended up being his final NBA game as the Celtics lost 122-104.

2005 Eastern Conference first round vs. Indiana Pacers

The Celtics didn’t have much playoff success for over a decade after Bird’s retirement. In their first Game 7 in 13 years, those playoff struggles continued. The Pacers routed Celtics at the FleetCenter, winning 97-70.

2008 Eastern Conference first round vs. Atlanta Hawks

The 66-win Celtics somehow found themselves facing a do-or-die Game 7 against the 37-win Hawks. But the 29-win difference between the two teams showed in Game 7 with the Celtics cruising to a 99-65 win.

2008 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Twenty years after the Bird-Wilkins battle, Paul Pierce and LeBron James had a similar tilt. The leaders of each team stepped up, with James scoring a game-high 45 points and Pierce scoring 41. Pierce made a pair of clutch plays at the end though to hold off a surging James. He dove for a loose ball after a jump ball in the final minute and got a lucky bounce on a free throw that helped the Celtics keep a two-possession lead en route to a 97-92 win. The win helped the Celtics continue their playoff run that resulted in their first NBA title in 22 years.

2009 Eastern Conference first round vs. Chicago Bulls


After five of the first six games were decided by one score (with four of those games going to overtime), the Celtics made sure not to have another tense battle against a young Bulls squad. Ray Allen scored a team-high 23 points to help hold off the Bulls 109-99.

2009 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Orlando Magic

Boston wasn’t able to win back-to-back Game 7s like it did in the first two rounds a season prior. The Magic throttled the Celtics 101-82 with Kevin Garnett’s absence for the entire postseason being felt.

2010 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Celtics were so close to capturing Banner 18 when they made a run to the NBA Finals in 2010. They took the lead midway through the second quarter and led by as many as 12 in the third. But the Lakers slowly chipped away at the lead before taking it midway through the fourth. It mostly remained a one-possession game but Ron Artest hit a 3-point with a minute left that put the Lakers up by six. The Celtics’ inability to grab a clutch rebound continued that haunted them as it allowed the Lakers to seal the game and win 83-79.

2012 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Boston found itself in a seven-game battle against the eighth-seeded Sixers, who upset the Bulls the round prior after Derrick Rose tore his ACL. The Celtics held a tight lead for much of the game until Rajon Rondo hit a pair of key buckets late, including a 3-pointer that helped give Boston an 85-75 win.

2012 Eastern Conference finals vs. Miami Heat


Somehow, the Celtics were on the doorstep of their third Finals appearance in five seasons. They went up 3-2 in the series against the Heat, but an all-time performance by LeBron James in Game 6 forced a Game 7. Still, the Celtics were almost able to pull of a surprise Finals run for the ages as they led by as many 11 points. After both teams traded the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth, James and Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh took over as they scored their team’s final 31 points to beat the Celtics 101-88 in Ray Allen’s final game with the team.

2017 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Washington Wizards

In what was the peak of the Isaiah Thomas-era Celtics, Boston won a high-scoring affair against John Wall, Brad Beal, and Washington. It was the first Game 7 of Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown’s careers, with each player scoring 13 and nine points off the bench, respectively. But it was Kelly Olynyk who stole the show, scoring 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting in the 115-105 win.

2018 Eastern Conference first round vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Down Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the young Celtics showed up against an ascending star in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Terry Rozier and Al Horford both scored a team-high 26 points while Jayson Tatum scored 20 points in his first Game 7, helping the Celtics win 112-96.

2018 Eastern Conference finals vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The young Celtics group had a chance to avenge Celtics’ teams of the past as they had LeBron James on the ropes in Game 7. They led by as many as 12, but James scored 35 points to help lift the Cavaliers past the Celtics and Tatum, who scored 24 and had an exciting four-quarter poster dunk on James, in the 87-79 win.


2020 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Toronto Raptors

Playing in the NBA’s bubble at Disney World, the Celtics were able to knock off the defending champs in the second round, but not without some drama. After Grant Williams missed two free throws with 35 seconds left, Tatum charged in to get the offensive rebound and made one of two ensuing free throws to give the Celtics a three-point lead. Fred VanVleet missed a potential game-tying shot with 12 seconds left, giving Boston a 92-87 win.

2022 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Milwaukee Bucks

In what’s been termed by Celtics fans as “The Grant Williams Game,” the Celtics forward was left wide open from 3-point territory for much of Game 7. He made the Bucks pay for it, making seven of them to score a game-high 27 points in a Celtics blowout 109-81 win.

2022 Eastern Conference finals vs. Miami Heat

The Celtics had a wire-to-wire win over the Heat in Game 7, but it certainly didn’t feel that way. After Boston went up 98-85 with 3:35 left, Miami scored 11 straight points and nearly took the lead when Jimmy Butler pulled up from 3 with 16 seconds left. But his shot didn’t fall, allowing the Celtics to win 100-96 and advance to the NBA Finals.

2023 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Jayson Tatum made history in the last Game 7 he played in just two weeks ago. He went off and scored 51 points, breaking the record Steph Curry set two weeks prior for the most ever in a Game 7. Tatum’s scoring outburst allowed the Celtics to cruise to a 112-88 win.


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