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The Boston Celtics (/ˈsɛltɪks/ SEL-tiks) are an American professional basketball team based in Boston. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball AssociationThe Boston Celtics ( SEL-tiks) are an American professional basketball team based in Boston. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the Celtics play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Boston Bruins. The Celtics are regarded as the one of the most successful basketball teams in NBA history; the franchise has won the most championships in the NBA with 17 (accounting for 23.9 percent of all NBA championships since the league's founding), and currently hold the record for the most recorded wins of any NBA team.The Celtics are one of the two charter BAA franchises (the other being the New York Knicks) still playing in their original city today. The Celtics have a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who have won 16 NBA championships, second behind the Celtics. The rivalry was heavily highlighted throughout the 1960s and 1980s. The franchise has played the Lakers a record 12 times in the NBA Finals (including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010), of which the Celtics have won nine. Four Celtics players (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards. Both the nickname "Celtics" and their mascot "Lucky the Leprechaun" are a nod to Boston's historically large Irish population.The Celtics' rise to dominance began in the late 1950s, after coach Red Auerbach acquired center Bill Russell, who would become the cornerstone of the Celtics dynasty, in a draft day trade in 1956. Led by Russell and superstar point guard Bob Cousy, the Celtics won their first NBA championship in 1957. Russell, along with a talented supporting cast of future Hall of Famers including John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, and Bill Sharman, would usher the Celtics into the greatest period in franchise history, winning eight consecutive NBA championships throughout the 1960s. After the retirement of Russell in 1969, the Celtics entered a period of rebuilding. Led by center Dave Cowens and point guard JoJo White, the Celtics returned to championship caliber, winning two NBA titles in 1974 and 1976. The Celtics again returned to dominance in the 1980s. Led by the "Big Three" that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, the Celtics won the 1981, 1984, and 1986 championships. After winning 16 championships throughout the 20th century, the Celtics, after struggling through the 1990s, rose again to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen in what was known as the new "Big Three" era. The Celtics returned to the NBA Finals in 2010, only to lose to the Lakers in a seven-game series. By the start of the 2013 season, none of the "Big Three" were still with the team, which ushered in a new era for the team. With the help of newly hired head coach Brad Stevens, the team began rebuilding. In his second season, Stevens led the Celtics on a return to the playoffs in 2015. During the following season, the Celtics clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the Conference Finals. This prompted an aggressive rebuild in 2017, where the team acquired All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. However, the pair struggled with injuries throughout the 2017–18 season, and the team was again defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals, despite pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games.
The New York Knickerbockers, more commonly referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough ofThe New York Knickerbockers, more commonly referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the other team is the Brooklyn Nets. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city. The team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts. Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became the head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman successfully guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973. The Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success that included six playoff appearances; however, they failed to participate in the NBA Finals. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing; this era was marked by passionate rivalries with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former successes, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. They were eventually eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Indiana Pacers, and have failed to make the playoffs since.