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Celtics Celebrate Big Victory

Apr. 26, 1964 - A wildly delighted band of Boston Celtics were laughing at the “Doubting Toms” tonight after winning a record sixth straight NBA championship.

“They all though were too old,” the Celtics shouted in a jammed dressing room. “They said we wouldn’t beat Cincinnati or Los Angeles or San Francisco. Well, we’ve done it again.”

But neither coach Red Auerbach nor his players would classify the admittedly aging Celtics team as “the greatest” in the club’s long domination.

Auerbach described the victory as he invariably does.

“It was a team effort,” he said. “The whole season was a team effort. Eight men were in every game. Sometimes it was a different person who did the scoring, but you can’t single out any one star on this club — except maybe Bill Russell. He’s fantastic.”

Auerbach accepted the congratulations of the losing coach, Alex Hannum, and the NBA president, Walter Kennedy.

“You had a great year, Red, congratulations,” Hannum said.

Of his own club, the Warrior pilot said: “I have never been prouder of a team in my life. They never gave up. [Tom] Meschery had an ankle injury, but he went back into the game. We couldn’t use [Gary] Phillips because he had a severe back sprain. And Wilt played almost the whole game with a bleeding hand. But it was a close game. A bounce of the ball could have made the difference.”

Russell called the victory the “sweetest of all” because “so many people had written us off.”

“We had a great balance to this team and a strong will to win,” he said. “We’ve had greater teams, more explosive teams, but this was the sweetest. Any time you beat a player like Wilt, you accomplish something.”

Russell made no reference to his threat of retiring next year except to say that this season “has been a most trying one for me personally.”

Frank Ramsey, who ended his Boston career with this victory, insisted that the team’s first championship in 1957 was a bigger thrill for him.

“But this is a great club,” he said. “Red did a great job with us because we were just a bunch of individuals. We didn’t have any superstar scorer, but this club made up for it with guts. We had more finesse when he had Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman. But this club fought as hard as any I’ve ever seen.”

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