Box Score Bank: Jersey Boys

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Box Score Bank: Jersey Boys

Tonight at the Prudential Center, after 35 crazy years, New Jersey will say goodbye to the Nets. Or is it the Nets saying goodbye to New Jersey? Either way, tonight certainly ends a chapter in NBA history. Not a particularly significant chapter especially since they're only moving 80 miles north but a chapter nonetheless.

They're the the New Jersey Nets! It's going to be weird not having them around.

For a great look back at all the ups and (mostly) downs of the franchise's time in the Dirty Jerz, check out Harvey Araton's story from Sunday's New York Times but not until you're done here.

In all, the Celtics played 168 games against the "New Jersey Nets." They finished with a record of 112-56 and their winning percentage (.667) is higher against Jersey than it is against all but two current NBA franchises (BobcatsClippers).

If there's a bright side for the Nets, it's that they came out on top the only two times they met Boston in the playoffs. They were also the only one of the two franchises to employ both Yinka Dare AND Gheorghe Muresan. Also, there's this:

Let's set the Box Score Bank to October 28, 1977

Jimmy Carter was wrapping up his first year as president. "You Light Up My Life" by Debbie Boone was the No. 1 song in America. Annie Hall was the reigning Best Picture. Doc Rivers was a sophomore standout at Chicago's Proviso East High School. Jay Z was seven.

And over at the Rutgers Athletic Center, on the campus of Rutgers University, the Nets earned their first ever win in the NBA courtesy of your Boston Celtics.

Final Score: Nets 116, Celtics 109

New Jersey was led by 21-year-old rookie Bernard King, who averaged 24 points and 9.5 rebounds in his first season and dropped 30 in this one. The win improved the Nets to 1-5 on the year, but there was little improvement from there. They started 3-22 and went on to finish last in the Atlantic with a record of 24-58.

As for the Celtics, as you could probably guess, this was a tough year. They were led by 37-year-old John Havlicek and 29-year-old Dave Cowens (who combined for 47 points against the Nets) but there wasn't much after that. The C's started the season 11-23, at which point head coach Tommy Heinsohn (what ever happened that guy?) stepped down. He was replaced by Satch Sanders but the switch did little for the C's who finished 32-50 only their second losing record in 27 years.

But it wasn't all bad for Boston. That awful record landed them the No 6 pick in the draft, which they used to nab some slow white guy out of Indiana State.

They went on to dominate the Nets from there more so than they did pretty much any team in the league. But not before helping them break into the NBA win column.

Finally, just for fun, here's my personal all-time New Jersey Nets squad:

PG: Kenny Anderson
SG: Drazen Petrovic
SF: Armon Gilliam (going with a big line up)
PF: Buck Williams
C: Yinka Dare

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

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Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."