Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Season Review: 1965-66



The 1965-66 season was a challenging one for the Boston Celtics, as they faced strong competition from the Philadelphia 76ers. Led by rookie forward Billy Cunningham, the 76ers proved to be a formidable opponent, winning 55 games and capturing the Eastern Division title for the first time in a decade. Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, and Lucious Jackson were key contributors to the team’s success.

Despite the 76ers’ dominance in their matchups against the Celtics during the regular season, Boston managed to rally in the playoffs. After trailing the Cincinnati Royals 2-1 in the quarterfinals, the Celtics staged a comeback and advanced to face the 76ers in the Eastern Division finals. Philadelphia, having had a two-week break due to a first-round bye, struggled against the Celtics and were eliminated in five games. This defeat resulted in the firing of coach Dolph Schayes.

In the NBA Finals, the Celtics faced the Los Angeles Lakers, who had just defeated the St. Louis Hawks in a grueling seven-game Western Finals series. The Lakers took an early lead against the Celtics in Game 1, but Boston’s coach, Red Auerbach, made a surprising announcement that he would retire and hand over the coaching duties to Bill Russell, making him the first African-American coach in a major American sports league. This announcement seemed to inspire the Celtics, who went on to win the series in seven games, securing their eighth consecutive championship and ninth in ten seasons.

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Eastern Division semifinals

  • Boston defeated Cincinnati (3-2)

Western Division semifinals

  • St. Louis defeated Baltimore (3-0)

Eastern Division finals

  • Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-1)

Western Division finals

  • Los Angeles Lakers defeated St. Louis (4-3)

NBA Finals

  • Boston defeated Los Angeles Lakers (4-3)

Season Leaders

  • Points: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers (33.5)
  • Assists: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (11.1)
  • Rebounds: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers (24.6)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia (54.0)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Larry Siegfried, Boston Celtics (88.1)

Award Winners

  • Most Valuable Player: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Rookie of the Year: Rick Barry, San Francisco Warriors
  • Coach of the Year: Dolph Schayes, Philadelphia
  • All-Star Game MVP: Adrian Smith, Cincinnati Royals


Q: Who was the coach of the Boston Celtics during the 1965-66 season?
A: Red Auerbach was the coach of the Boston Celtics during the 1965-66 season. He announced his retirement plans during the NBA Finals and appointed Bill Russell as his successor, making Russell the first African-American coach in a major American sports league.

Q: How many championships did the Boston Celtics win during the 1965-66 season?
A: The Boston Celtics won their eighth straight championship and ninth in ten seasons during the 1965-66 season.

Q: Who was the MVP of the 1965-66 NBA season?
A: Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1965-66 NBA season.


The 1965-66 season was marked by intense competition between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. Led by rookie Billy Cunningham, the 76ers emerged as a formidable team, dethroning the Celtics and capturing the Eastern Division title. However, the Celtics, inspired by Red Auerbach’s retirement announcement and the appointment of Bill Russell as coach, rallied in the playoffs and secured their eighth consecutive championship. Wilt Chamberlain of the 76ers was named MVP, further highlighting the individual talent on display during this season. Despite the challenges, the Celtics’ dynasty continued, cementing their place in basketball history.

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For more information about the 1965-66 season, visit