March 14, 1978

As the end of a brutal season beckoned, Satch Sanders insisted it might last longer than expected by most everyone not coaching the Boston Celtics.

Sanders replaced Tommy Heinsohn with the Celtics at 11-23. Entering their March 14 game against Detroit, the C’s were 24-39. The improvement was noticeable, but hardly miraculous.

If ever a team needed a miraculous rise, it was the 1977-78 Celtics.

But Sanders shared his thought that his club could still make the playoffs, suggesting that a record of 39-42 could do it.

That would mean 15 wins in its final 19 games. With 13 games left at the Garden … well, why not?

“We’re still on the borderline and have to get a streak going,” Sanders said, as reported in the Boston Globe. The Celtics were due for a streak. “It’s been a long time since we had one,” Sanders said.

The Celtics lost that night. They finished 32-50.

After starting the ensuing season 2-12, Sanders was gone.

It would take another awful year, and Larry Bird’s subsequent arrival, to legitimize Celtics’ hopes.

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