|First meeting||December 20, 1970|
Cavaliers 112, Celtics 116
|Latest meeting||March 4, 2020|
Cavaliers 106, Celtics 112
|All-time series||Celtics, 153–104|
|Regular season series||Celtics, 133–80|
|Postseason results||Cavaliers, 24–22|
|Longest win streak||
|Current win streak||Celtics, 8|
The Cavaliers–Celtics rivalry is a National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first match-up, eventually winning their thirteenth championship in 1976. The next playoff match-ups occurred in 1985 with Boston winning the series in four games and 1992 where the Cavaliers would win their first series against the team in seven games. This series would mark the end of Larry Bird's career. It wasn't until 2008 when the LeBron James'-led Cleveland Cavaliers ran into the newly-minted Boston Celtics' Big 3 when the rivalry would be upstarted again.
LeBron James vs. The Big 3
In the summer of 2007, general manager Danny Ainge made a series of moves that returned the Celtics to prominence. On draft night, he traded No. 5 pick Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to Seattle for perennial all-star Ray Allen and Seattle's second-round pick (which the team used to select LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis). The Celtics then traded Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, and a first-round draft pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for superstar power forward Kevin Garnett. These moves created a new "Big Three" of Pierce, Allen, and Garnett. In the 2007–08 season, Celtics completed the largest single-season turnaround in NBA history. The team went 66–16 in the regular season, a 42-game improvement over its 2006–07 record. However, the team struggled in the early rounds of the playoffs, needing seven games to defeat the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and another seven to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.
During the 2009 off-season, the Cavaliers acquired four-time NBA champion and 15-time All Star center Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns. The Cavaliers also signed wingman Anthony Parker, and forwards Leon Powe and Jamario Moon for the following season. On February 17, 2010, the Cavaliers acquired All-Star forward Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards and Sebastian Telfair from the Los Angeles Clippers in a three team trade. The Cavaliers originally lost Žydrūnas Ilgauskas in this trade, but after being waived by Washington, he signed back with the Cavaliers on March 23 for the rest of the season. The Cavaliers managed to finish with the NBA's best record for the second straight season, with a 61–21 record. James was named the NBA MVP for the second consecutive year. The Cavaliers defeated the Chicago Bulls 4–1 in the first round of the 2010 NBA playoffs, but lost to the Boston Celtics in the semifinals after leading the series 2–1, with the Celtics proceeding to win 3 consecutive games.
With the Cavaliers out of the playoffs, the focus turned to James' impending free agency. On July 8, 2010, James announced in a nationally televised one-hour special titled The Decision on ESPN that he would be signing with the Miami Heat. The repercussions of this announcement left many in the city of Cleveland infuriated and feeling betrayed. A number of LeBron James jerseys were burned, and the famous Nike "Witness" mural of James in downtown Cleveland was immediately taken down. Following James' decision to sign with the Miami Heat, the Celtics shifted their rivalry with James towards the Heat instead, halting the Cavaliers–Celtics rivalry temporarily.
Return of LeBron James, rivalry resurgence
The Cavaliers became perennial title contenders between 2014–15 and 2017-18 NBA seasons following the return of LeBron James to Cleveland. On July 11, 2014, James revealed via a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated that he intended to return to the Cavaliers. In contrast to The Decision, his announcement to return to Cleveland was well received. A day later, he officially signed with the team, who had compiled a league-worst 97–215 record in the four seasons following his departure. A month after James' signing, the Cavaliers acquired Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, forming a new star trio along with Kyrie Irving.
The Cavaliers entered the 2015 NBA playoffs as the second seed in the East with a 53–29 record. They advanced through the first three rounds of the playoffs virtually unchallenged, sweeping Boston in the first round, but Love would missed the remainder of the playoffs after he dislocated his left shoulder in the first quarter of Game 4 when he got tangled with the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk while battling for a loose ball. Love called it a "bush-league play", while Olynyk said he would "never intentionally hurt someone." The league ruled that Olynyk had "yanked Love's arm down", and suspended Olynyk for one game. Love underwent surgery to repair his shoulder and the team said he would need four to six months to recover.
In the 2017 off-season, Kyrie Irving demanded a trade, citing that he no longer wanted to play second fiddle to LeBron. Irving's wish was later granted, sending him to the Boston Celtics on August 22, 2017 for Isaiah Thomas, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick. . However, during the post-trade physical examination by Cleveland staff, concerns were raised about the health of Thomas' previously injured hip. As a result, eight days after the deal was announced, the Celtics agreed to send the Cavaliers a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to complete the trade. It was later reported that Thomas had been playing with a number of secondary issues in his hip, such as a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, for several seasons. Thomas was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a trade deadline overhaul that saw the Cavaliers add several young players. The following offseason, James declined his player option to rejoin the team, instead signing with the Lakers. In the following two seasons, the team recorded only 19 wins and failed to make the playoffs.
|Cavaliers victories||Celtics victories|
- "Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Head-to-Head in the NBA Regular Season – All-Time Game Log". Landofbasketball.com. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
- "1976 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Cavaliers vs. Celtics".
- "1985 NBA Eastern Conference First Round Cavaliers vs. Celtics".
- Vergara, Anndre. "25 years ago today, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended Larry Bird's NBA career". Fox Sports. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- Celtics Acquire Seven-Time All-Star Ray Allen from Sonics Archived June 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, nba.com. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
- Celtics Acquire 10-Time All-Star Kevin Garnett, nba.com. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- Broussard, Chris (June 24, 2009). "Shaq to Cavs deal awaits approval". ESPN. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
- Stableford, Dylan (July 8, 2010). "ESPN's Disgraceful LeBron James 'Decision'". TheWrap.com. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- Vardon, Joe (October 21, 2016). "LeBron James and a boulevard of broken teams: NBA 2016-17 season preview". Cleveland.com. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- "CLEVELAND CAVALIERS ACQUIRE AGRAVANIS' NBA RIGHTS". agonasport.com. October 15, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- "LeBron James rejoins Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency". Sports Illustrated. USA Today. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Levin, Josh. "Nice Rebound!". Slate. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Simmons, Bill. "God Loves Cleveland". Grantland. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Lowe, Zach. "The Decision 2.0: OK, What's Next?". Grantland. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Windhorst, Brian (July 12, 2014). "LeBron deal has eye on future cap". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Bloomberg News. "LeBron to Cleveland: I'm coming home". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
- ESPN News Services. "Kevin Love traded to Cavaliers". ESPN. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- Haynes, Chris (April 29, 2015). "Kevin Love undergoes surgery on dislocated shoulder, out 4-6 months". Cleveland.com. Archived from the original on April 30, 2015. Unknown parameter
- Haynes, Chris (April 27, 2015). "Kevin Love shoulder injury: Cleveland Cavaliers forward out for entire Eastern Conference semifinals". Cleveland.com. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Unknown parameter
- "Smith, Olynyk suspended; Perkins fined" (Press release). NBA. April 27, 2015. Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Unknown parameter
- "Celtics Acquire Four-Time All-Star Kyrie Irving". NBA.com. August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian (August 27, 2017). "Cleveland Cavaliers plan to seek additional compensation from Boston Celtics". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian (August 30, 2017). "Cavs add 2nd-round pick from Celtics to complete Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Lloyd, Jason (September 8, 2017). "Lloyd: So few answers raise even more questions about Isaiah Thomas' health". theathletic.com. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
This article "Cavaliers–Celtics rivalry" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Cavaliers–Celtics rivalry. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.