This Date in Celtics Playoff History
April 22, 1973
No Celtics player has even -- and may never again -- play as many games as John Havlicek. With 1,270 career games in Green, "Hondo" was known as much for his amazing talent as he was for his durability.
But it was on this date in Celtics playoff history that Havlicek missed a game due to injury. And it was not just any game -- it was an Easter Sunday Game 4 Eastern Conference Final battle with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
That year, the Celtics roared through the regular season, posting a team-record 68 wins before they went head-on with New York in the Conference Finals. The Celtics won Game 1, but then dropped each of the next two entering the April 22 game.
In Game 3, Havlicek sustained a hyperextension of the muscles in his left shoulder when he attempted to fight through a Dave DeBusschere pick. That left him watching Game 4 from the bench with his arm in a sling.
The Celtics did lead 76-60 with 10 minutes left in regulation in Game 4 before they gave the ball up on seven straight possessions -- four bad passes, two offensive fouls, and a three-second violation. With over 20,000 New Yorkers riled up in the stands, the Knicks came back and won 117-110 in two overtimes.
"You've got to be up 20 points going into the fourth quarter in this place, and we were only up 16," growled Celtics Head Coach Tom Heinsohn after game, referring to the one-sided officiating done by Jack Madden and Jake ODonnell. He then pointed to the final box score which showed a 38-23 New York advantage at the free throw line. "Who are they kidding?"
The Celtics won the next two, but then dropped Game 7.