2018 NBA Playoffs: Last time Celtics-Bucks met in the postseason

NBA Boston Celtics Brad Stevens (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Brad Stevens (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

What happened the last time the Milwaukee Bucks faced the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs?

Well, here’s a matchup between two teams who have had a playoff rivalry, but not recently. The last time the Celtics and Bucks met in the playoffs was during the 1987 postseason.

That series was epic. It went to game 7. It had one OT game and one 2OT game. Yeah, this was a battle. Back then, the Celtics had the big dogs like Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, and Robert Parish. All of them scored more than 20 points a game for the series. Wow.

The Bucks were rolling with Sidney Moncrief, a severely underrated star. They also had Terry Cummings, who was their leading scorer for the series.

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Look, this series was very, VERY close. The Celtics’ points per game? 121.4. The Bucks? 121.1.

The scoring was separated by 0.3 point. Not even a point. I mean……this series was way too close for a semifinals battle. That’s something you want in the conference finals or beyond. Okay, now the Celtics shot better from the field, and that includes 3-point range. In fact, they shot much better. However, the Bucks had more attempts from the floor. It was a battle of quality vs quantity.

The Bucks likely got those extra shots from the turnovers they caused via steals. Ultimately, the Celtics turned the ball over 105 times and the Bucks only 80. The Bucks didn’t do much offensive rebounding so I wouldn’t think the extra shots came from there, especially since the Celtics had more offensive rebounds anyway so they probably took their fair share of second-chance shots.

I mentioned earlier that these teams had a rivalry. Yes, in the 80’s, they met four times. They met in 83, 84, 86, and of course, 87. So yeah, they knew each other. They probably hated each other. Let’s quickly recap those meetings.

  • In 83, the Bucks swept the Celtics in four games in the semifinals. Ouch.
  • In 84, the Celtics responded with a 4-1 win in the conference finals. Aha!
  • So, in 86, after a year off from the war, the Celtics swept the Bucks in the conference finals.

Overall, they’ve met 27 times, and the Celtics have 16 wins while the Bucks have 11. Even with that, the Celtics have won four of the five series.

Now, the meetings between these two teams in interesting because they have met in the NBA finals before. Yup. The Bucks used to be part of the Western Conference. They didn’t relocate or anything. It was simply, as the league changed and added teams and stuff, they moved the Bucks.

So, back in 1974, the first meeting between those teams in the postseason, the Bucks lost in seven games. Just, ouch.

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These teams have a rich history and a rare one at that as they’ve shared and met outside of conferences. I’m not sure how often we’ll see that again. This will be the first time they’ve met in the first round of the playoffs as well. This means, this matchup will have met in all rounds of the NBA playoffs as they’ve met in the second round (semi), 3rd (conference) and fourth (Finals). That’s really cool. Tweet that!