Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/13/1965 — The Steal 🏀

Sometimes all you gotta do to make history is run down the clock.

Just ask @Celtics all-time leading scorer Johnny Havlicek, who today in Boston, 1965, pulled off one of the greatest moments in @NBA playoff history.

The Celts were on their way to a 9th Eastern Conference championship title in the spring of ‘65, and after landing at a nail-biting 3-3 tête-à-tête with the Philadelphia 76ers, Game 7 was looking promising as they established a comfortable lead.

But earlier that season, the @Sixers had recruited a legendary not-so-secret weapon in Wilt Chamberlain, who nearly single-handedly boiled down the Celtics’ lead to 110-109 with 5 seconds left on the clock.

That’s when a pass from 5-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star Bill Russell went out of bounds under the Sixers’ basket.

As Hall of Famer Hal Greer got ready to toss the ball back inbounds, he realized that Russell was covering Chamberlain like the @BostonGlobe on the Catholic Church. He shifted his gaze to forward Chet Walker, who seemed wide open and able to sink a 2-pointer that would flip the game — and the title — for Philly.

But Johnny Havlicek, that sneaky minx, was positioned several feet behind Walker, so when the ball flew to Walker, Havlicek was there to slap it out of the air and into the steady hands of Celtic Sam Jones, who ran out the last 5 seconds with a simple down-court dribble.

Broadcasting icon Johnny Most captured the bit in that famous graveled tone:

"Greer is putting the ball into play. He gets it out deep. Havlicek steals it. Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!"

The crowd went wild, the Celtics won their 9th Eastern Conference before locking down their 7th consecutive NBA championship, and the moment crystallized in basketball history forever.

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