1954-55 Boston Celtics

The 1954-55 NBA season was a season of transition and change. George Mikan the league's 1st superstar retired after leading the Minneapolis Lakers to 3 straight titles, 5 in the NBA, and 6 overall. This would be a wide open season and the beginning of a new era in basketball.

The 1954-55 NBA season was the 1st NBA season to feature a 24 second shot clock, the 1st season to have the new rule of 6 personal fouls per quarter for a team before they reached the penalty, and the 1st season to feature the new rule of technical fouls. These rules were looked upon as much needed as the slow down pace and frequent fouling before this season were thought of as hurting the game and making it boring. Teams were still having problems making money and fighting to stay afloat, the Baltimore Bullets franchise for one folded during the season. Coverage of NBA basketball was minimal in most of the mainstream press, Sports Illustrated didn't feature a single article on the NBA until the January 24,1955 issue. For the '54-'55 season there was no season preview and scores were originally buried in the back of the Scoreboard column behind hockey and other sports.

The Boston Celtics were not yet the champions they would soon become, Red Auerbach was yet to be noted as a basketball genius at this time, Celtic Pride was an unknown term and Bill Russell was a relative unknown, as Tom Gola was considered the best college basketball player in the country. The Celtics were actually known as a team of underachievers despite having some of the best talent in the league. The 1955 Celtics had 3 All-Stars: Bob Cousy who was considered the best player in basketball, Bill Sharman the 1955 All-Star Game MVP, and Ed Macauley. Here is a mid-season report on the Celtics from Sports Illustrated from January 24, 1955:

"The chief attraction of the Celtics is Bob Cousy , showiest player in the league, possibly the best all-round star and certainly the highest paid (around $18,000). The Celtics play fast-breaking basketball and it is Cousy who gets them off winging. Cousy on offense presents a guileless, candid face, eyes resolutely fixed straight ahead, his path of movement clearly indicated. Suddenly the ball whips around from behind his back to a teammate in the clear. Before the defense can recover the ball is through the basket. Or maybe Cousy innocently sets himself for a shot from outside; he springs, but instead of the ball going up to the basket he drops it behind him to a colleague who drives in behind the screen. Prettiest sight to watch is Cousy the dribbler. Changing hands, moving the ball behind his back, incredibly keeping control of the ball while dodging defenders at high speed, Cousy often drives past two or even three opponents to put the ball up.

On defense Cousy has the furtive look of a hold-up man on his first job, stalking his prey on the balls of his feet, eyes scanning right and left like a radarscope seeking potential threats, blocking shots, intercepting passes.

The other big guns on the Celtics are Bill Sharman , a sharp-shooting guard and very able foil for Cousy in working the ball up, and Don Barksdale and "Easy Ed" Macauley, both can play the pivot, hit the boards."

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