April 18, 1962 – The Celtics were seeking their fourth consecutive NBA championship, when they met the Western Division champion Los Angeles Lakers in the 1962 NBA Finals. After falling behind 2-1 and 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, Boston forced a Game 7 at the Boston Garden.
Faced with the daunting task of slowing the Lakers’ Elgin Baylor, the Celtics also were limited on the offensive end when Tom Heinsohn, Jim Loscutoff, Frank Ramsey and Tom Sanders all fouled out late in the contest. Without help from some of his top teammates, Russell had to elevate his game, and he did. The 6-foot-9 center scored 30 points, but made his greatest impact on the boards by corralling an astonishing 40 rebounds — the most in NBA Finals history.
Thanks to Russell’s Game 7 dominance, the Celtics held on for a 110-107 win in overtime, and eventually went on to win another six titles over the next seven years.
Bill Russell set a still-standing record for rebounds in a 7-game series with 189.