Cedric Maxwell always speaks his mind. The former Boston Celtics star and current radio announcer recently explained how he believes the Celtics can knock off the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals.
Before Game 1, Maxwell said he “absolutely” thought the Celtics could beat the Warriors, who entered the series as the favorite. He explained himself, calling the Warriors “tuxedo players.” He also compared Golden State to the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. In this case, that’s not a good thing.
Cedric Maxwell came up big when it counted most with the Boston Celtics
Before Boston’s Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, there was Maxwell. Yes, Maxwell played with the Big Three, but when McHale and Parish arrived after a monster trade with the Golden State Warriors, Max sacrificed his numbers.
Two years before the big deal, Maxwell averaged 19.0 points and 9.9 rebounds in his second season in the NBA. The next year, he teamed with Bird, a rookie out of Indiana State, and put up 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. For those two seasons, Maxwell led the NBA in field-goal percentage.
With McHale and Parish joining, Maxwell’s numbers dipped slightly. It’s only natural that scoring and rebounding stats would spread out with three future Hall of Famers touching the ball.
During the first year with McHale and Parish on the roster, the Celtics dominated, making their way to the 1981 NBA Finals. That’s when Max came up big. Maxwell led the team in scoring during the six-game series against the Houston Rockets. He finished second to Bird in rebounding.
With the series tied at two games apiece, Maxwell put up game-highs in points (28) and rebounds (15) in a dominant 109-80 victory. He was named the MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals.
In 1984 against the hated Los Angeles Lakers, the teams squared off in a do-or-die Game 7. Before the game, Maxwell told his teammates to get on his back and he’d carry them to victory. He lived up to his promise with a team-high 24 points while adding eight rebounds as Boston closed out the series with a 111-102 win.
Maxwell calls the Warriors ‘tuxedo players’ and compared them to the Lakers of the 1980s
Maxwell spends his time these days as the colorman for Celtics games on the radio. Before the series with the Warriors, Maxwell explained why Boston wins.
He didn’t hold back.
“Absolutely, they can beat the Warriors,” he said, per Celtics on NBA Sports Boston. “They’ll beat them because they’ll defend them better. One thing they have is they have a little more size. When I think about (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown on the wings, and then you have Marcus Smart at the initial point of attack.
“I love this opportunity the Celtics have because (the Warriors) are tuxedo players. They don’t want to be touched. They want to play a clean, smooth basketball game, very much like this team I played against — the Los Angeles Lakers in ’84. They didn’t want to be touched, and they wanted to play with finesse, showtime.
“When you knock a guy on his ass a couple of times, then the whole tenor changes, how they play. I think the Celtics have to play that way of being physical, knocking (Stephen) Curry around.”
Getting compared to the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s is usually a good thing, except when Maxwell is the one drawing up the comparisons.