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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Jerry Sichting, Sam Vincent Talk Bucks vs. Celtics Playoff Series Then and Now

What is the difference between playing a game of basketball in 2007 and 2018? It’s not just time. The modern NBA has seen changes to load up on offense, speed up pace, and increase scoring.

The Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks series is the current NBA playoff game that brings back memories of 1980s basketball. These clubs have brought toughness back into this series, despite the heavy launching of three-pointers. We even had a superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, playing with blood flowing from his eye.

This Bucks-Celtics matchup brings back memories of their historic, seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series in 1987. Jerry Sichting and Sam Vincent, two reserves of the 1987 Celtics, spoke with Sportscasting about their playoff experiences 35 years ago.

In 1987, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks faced battle in a tough playoff series.

During an NBA basketball game at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986, Jerry Sichting of the Boston Celtics shoots against the Milwaukee Bucks. From 1985 until 1988, Sichting was a member of the Boston Celtics. | Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Celtics had high hopes for the 1986-87 season after winning their third NBA championship in a decade. In 1986, Sichting and Vincent were members of the championship squad, and they returned in 1987. The Bucks were up next after the Celtics swept the Chicago Bulls in three games in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics seemed to be in command despite Kevin McHale missing Game 1 and not starting Games 2 and 3 due to a foot ailment.

The Celtics blasted away the Bucks in the first game and then won Game 2 126-124 at home. After the Bucks won Game 3 at home 126-121, the teams played a dramatic double-overtime game, which the Celtics won. Boston went home with a 3-1 lead after winning 138-137. Milwaukee had trouble winning in the Boston Garden.

“We were convinced we’d win Game 5,” Sichting said to Sportscasting. “We were excellent at home, but they were an excellent team.” They were taller than we were. We received less from our bench than they did. Still, having Bird, McHale, and (Robert) Parish at home is difficult to beat.”

Vincent was in the same boat.

“I don’t believe we looked beyond Milwaukee,” Vincent remarked. “The squad was performing well and we were coming off a championship season.” We may have taken our foot off the gas pedal a bit. We realized we had given them a bit more of a chance than we should have.”

In Game 5, the Milwaukee Bucks stunned the Boston Celtics, but Boston won the series in seven games.

This NBA/CBS entrance of the Celtics Bucks Game 7 from 1987 is still awesome.

CHECK OUT Dennis Johnson’s HARD FOUL on John Lucas at the 1:26 point of this video.

NBA IN THE 80’s — No Babies Allowed💪🏽#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/NN0O9ZWDlq

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 4, 2018

The Bucks accomplished what many believed was impossible. They went into the Garden and won 129-124, thanks to All-Star guard Sidney Moncrief’s 33 points. Celtics center Robert Parish hurt his ankle in the game and missed Game 6. With a 121-111 triumph at home, the Bucks took full advantage and extended the series to a seventh game.

Game 7 was another another nail-biter. Parish came back to score 23 points and grab 19 rebounds in a 119-113 win.

Sichting recalls, “That game was a lot closer than six points.” “I believe we made a couple of free throws down the stretch to make it six.”

“I recall being on the court protecting John Lucas. Then Moncrief was brought back into the game, and he posted me up. They called me for a ticky-tack foul, which is unusual in the playoffs, and then K.C. (Jones) yanked me out, knowing they were going to post me up.”

Vincent said, “That was an awesome series.” “What jumps up to me is the incredible basketball on the floor and how intense and difficult it was.”

Today, Sichting and Vincent discuss the Celtics versus. Bucks matchup.

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After squandering a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Bucks, the Celtics are now down 3-2. Vincent, who claimed he still watches the Celtics religiously, advised Celtics fans not to be concerned.

“They have to go in and see the footage, which I’m sure they have,” Vincent said. “They need to figure out where they went wrong and recommit to the 40 or 44 minutes of outstanding basketball they put in.” I still believe they will win the series. This series will be won by them.”

Despite the fact that Jayson Tatum hasn’t had a terrific series thus far, Sichting is happy with his progress. He believes it was the secret to the Celtics going from a.500 club through 50 games to finishing the regular season with a 26-6 record.

“I believe (Ime) Udoka did a fantastic job,” remarked Sichting. “Tatum’s progress has me amazed. I’ve always known he was gifted, but he’s made everyone around him better.

“Things began to click once he started passing and playing defense like he does.”

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After a demoralizing, series-altering loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1987 Finals, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics were denied a fourth NBA title.

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