Have the Celtics Historically Bounced Back After Finals Loss?

Have the Celtics Historically Bounced Back After Finals Loss?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

After taking Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors to six games in last year’s NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics are again in the mix for another title.

So we at BetMassachusetts.com thought we’d take a look at how the team has played in years after a Finals defeat.

Hopefully, this kind of information comes in handy with sports betting in Massachusetts about to get going in 2023.

What Does History Tell Us?

Here is a look at how the Celtics have fared after a loss in the finals.

Avg. Win Pct. Won Division? Made Conference Finals? Won NBA title?
72.9%4 out of 43 out of 42 out of 4

It’s happened four times before the 2022-23 season. The first was in the 1957-58 season, near the start of the Red Auerbach-Bill Russell-Bob Cousy dynasty. In 1956-57, the Celtics had won their first championship, beating the St. Louis Hawks in the finals 4-3, with a two-point double OT win in Game 7 in Boston. The Hawks, who finished the regular season tied for first in the West with 34-38 record, were led by Bob Petit and Slater Martin.

The following year, the Hawks turned the tables on the Celtics, beating Boston in the finals, 4-2, and giving the Celtics their first finals defeat. How did the team respond? Only by winning eight straight championships. That’s right. EIGHT! Is “octo-peat” a word?

In 1984-85, the Larry Bird Celtics lost to the Magic Johnson Lakers in the finals, four games to two. The response? The following year they beat the Houston Rockets in the finals, 4-2.

The next year the Celts again lost to the Lakers in the finals, 4-2, making it four straight seasons playing for the trophy. This time they did not return with another championship, but they did win the division with a 57-25 record, before losing to the “Bad Boy” Pistons in the Conference Finals.

The Celtics were shockingly bad during the run of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, next winning a title in 2007-08, 4-2 over the Lakers, and next losing in the finals two seasons later. That time Kobe Bryant and the Lakers topped them 4-3.

They followed up that NBA Finals defeat with another division title, but lost in the Conference Semis, 4-1, to the Miami Heat.

What About This Season?

What can one expect from the Celtics this year? Well, they’re going to be good – because they’re almost always good. Since their first division title in 1956-57, they’ve won 17 NBA titles – tied for most with the Lakers. They also have won 60 regular season games a record 13 times.

Boston is off to a strong start to the season. The Celtics are 8-3 and tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for second place in the Eastern Conference, behind the 10-1 Milwaukee Bucks.

You won’t find a live Massachusetts sports betting app until March at the earliest, but BetMGM and other operators have plenty of action on the Celtics nationally.

BetMGM currently has the Celtics as the co-favorite to win the NBA title, along with the Bucks, at +500.

Make sure to look at BetMassachusetts.com for the BetMGM Massachusetts bonus code and for much more betting information as the state ramps up.


BetMassachusetts.com utilized BasketballReference.com to determine how the Boston Celtics have performed in the year after a NBA Finals loss. After acquiring the data, we put it together to see if there is a trend that we can possibly expect from the 2022-23 Celtics.

BetMassachusetts.com also is your spot to find Massachusetts sportsbook promo codes.



Howard Gensler
Howard Gensler
Journalist / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Massachusetts sports betting market for BetMassachusetts.com. Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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