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Filling the Void: The Suns and Celtics Fight in Triple Overtime

Remember the ’76 Playoff Classic between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns? Well, if not – you should.

Banner View by Eric Kilby is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Filling the Void: The Suns and Celtics Fight in Triple Overtime


Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

We’ve been at this for a while. When we started writing “Filling the Void” pieces, I don’t think we really knew what we were diving into. Within the first couple weeks, we realized the importance of what we were trying to do. In a time during which live sports were canceled, on hold, or whatever you want to call it, we started exploring games, matches, and rounds of the past.

At first, it was all about what full games we could actually find. Then, as the breadth of what the world was facing came further into focus, leagues with strict copyright laws started loosening restrictions and more and more options landed on our list. Now, here we are, over 100 games later and still going strong.

Today: Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals goes the distance, and then needs three overtimes to decide a winner between the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics.



The Boston Celtics of the 1960s are the stuff of legend. Red Auerbach and Bill Russell‘s decade long stretch of dominance seemed to be fading as the calendar turned towards the seventies, but John Havlicek and new coach Tom Heinsohn had other plans.

The 1976 NBA Finals marks the Celtics second Finals appearance in the last three years, just narrowly missing out the year previous thanks to the Washington Bullets, who knocked the C’s out of the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. With that loss fueling their fire, the Celtics are pushing for another banner to hang in the garden.

And standing in their way is a brand new opponent.

The Phoenix Suns are still in their infancy, only coming into the league ahead of the 1968–69 season with the Milwaukee Bucks. Like any new franchise, there were some growing pains at first. But head coach John MacLeod brought stability to Phoenix in 1973, and three years later they’re in the finals, going toe-to-toe with the Boston Celtics.

And they’re holding their own, too.

The Celtics took the first two games of the series, winning both games by double-digits, leaving the Garden with a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to the Southwest, the Suns fought back valiantly, swiping the next two games, tying the series at two games apiece.

With the series lead in the balance, the Suns and Celtics went back to the Garden for tonight’s Game 5. They don’t know it yet, but this game will become one of the greatest NBA Playoff games of all-time.

I mean any game that goes to three overtimes, all the while being a back and forth battle between two teams who are refusing to give an inch has to be legendary, right? Those are the rules, aren’t they?

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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