Had this conversation last night at a Boston gym:
Guy: "Is Game Seven tomorrow?"
Guy: "Rondo needs to play better."
That's called assimilating yourself with the locals. I've crossed enemy lines. I've earned their trust. I've even gone so far as to create an alter ego on CelticsBlog under the handle, Where is Dino Radja? He's a thirty-something Celtics and Bruins die-hard, whose "had C's seasons since '98" and always wears his Dee Brown road jersey for big games. He hates Philly fans and Joey Crawford.
Now, much has been made up here about the Celtics all-time record in Game 7's at home (17-4). But it's really just an interesting footnote. It has no bearing here in 2012. Dave Cowens won't be setting screens tomorrow night, Bill Russell won't be patrolling the paint, and, I promise you, John Havlicek won't be stealing the damn ball. And besides, Garden Shmarden. The Sixers walked right into Boston for Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference Finals, and absolutely thumped the Celtics on the shoulders of the "The Boston Strangler," Andrew Toney.
Name: Andrew Toney
Born: November 23, 1957
College: Southwestern Louisiana (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Sixers Tenure: 1980-1988
Nickname: "The Boston Strangler"
"The Celtics switched Bird to guard in order to slow Toney down on offense by making him work harder on defense, but, as Cheeks said, "When Toney gets unconscious it really doesn't matter what anybody does." Sports Illustrated; May 31, 1982
"The Boston Strangler." Just gorgeous. Andrew Toney's nickname singled out one poor, defenseless city. It's like if Rod Barajas walked into Citizens Bank Park, took off his Ed Hardy hoodie, and revealed a sleeveless t-shirt that read, "Phillies Killer." The city would be livid. You would be livid. I'd be livid. But there's nothing we could do about it. In the following weeks, we would see Barajas on TMZ, photographed outside night clubs with Cartier Martin, Matt Bryant, Brad Wilkerson, and a bevy of beautiful women who are all smiling and pointing and laughing and kicking 62-yard field goals in 4-inch heels.
Andrew Toney didn't just play well against the Boston Celtics. He owned them. He took 60% of merchandise revenue and didn't approve Kevin McHale's vacation days. According to this SI article from 1983, "the list of Celtics who have failed as Toney defenders includes Nate Archibald, Chris Ford, Terry Duerod, Gerald Henderson, M.L. Carr, Danny Ainge, Charles Bradley and Buckner."
In the video below, Danny Ainge admitted that the best way to defend Toney "was to be nice to him" - like Toney was a bully who gave little Danny swirlies and wet willies and reverse wet willies. Yeah, even reverse wet willies. Ear wax right into his gullet and everything. And Danny took it. He learned after a couple of years that "bodying up" Toney didn't work. Ainge could either kill with kindness, or get dissected with mid-range jumpers.
After scoring 30 points in Game 2 and 39 points in Game 4, Toney dropped 34 points on 14-23 shooting in Game 7. I can confirm these numbers, because I saw the box score that was cut-out of the newspaper and then double-checked with a red ballpoint pen.
Sixers. Good. That's right. I'll put an ‘X' there. Now where are the Celtics? I see them now. Good. Another ‘X' there. Both teams are present and accounted for. Good. Ok, now points.
The Sixers exercised a lot of demons that night. After giving up a 3-1 series lead to the Celtics the year before - a series where they lost the final three games by a combined five points - the Sixers faced another deflating series defeat in Boston. But Toney and co. responded. Andrew Toney often inflicted damage to the Celtics in the playoffs, and in the Boston Garden - a place whose haunted halls and storied walls and parquet floor, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That was Toney's house. When asked about the Boston Garden, Andrew Toney bluntly said, "I felt I could score there."
No arguments here.
Any memories from the more experienced lurkers? I know you're out there. We need your veteran leadership now more than ever.
NBA Vintage - Andrew Toney 4/5 (via NBAFan1426)