Avery Bradley and Don Nelson.
We can’t compare the greater stakes involved, of course.
Still, Celtic fans over 50 (and many not over 50) immediately noticed the similarity between Nelly’s critical shot in the 1969 finals….
and Avery’s buzzer-beater tonight.
Former Laker great… Don Nelson
Nelson’s shot also involved the leprechaun making a timely road trip — game 7 was in LA, heheh. (Sadly Jack Nicholson was not in attendance.)
Nelson’s shot also has a nice symmetry to Avery’s…. perhaps a situational mirror image. Nelly’s clank-and-in shot marked the end of the Celtic dyanasty. Avery’s, perhaps, came at the start of a bright emerging power for the years to come.
Russell retired after the game; you can watch the game overview and Russ’s emotional comments after his 11th championship here.
And of course, you can enjoy Nelson’s shot in the video embed nearby.
Nelson’s jumper not only gave the Celtics the cushion they needed to hold on for a 108-106 win. It left egg all over the face of Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke.
Expecting a win, Cooke had thousands of balloons with “World Champion Lakers” printed on them suspended from the rafters. The team placed flyers on every seat stating:
“When, not if, the Lakers win the title, balloons will be released from the rafters, the USC marching band will play Happy Days Are Here Again and broadcaster Chick Hearn will interview Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain in that order.”
If you look closely, you may see the shadow of a small Irish personage with a pipe and a walking stick in the background.