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Back in Boston, Celtics honor John Havlicek

May 4, 2019
Boston Celtics wear the No. 17 during a moment of silence for former Celtic John Havlicek, who died last week, before Game 3 of the team's second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Friday, May 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics honored Hall of Famer John Havlicek before their playoff game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, observing a moment of silence beforehand and then showing a highlight video during the first commercial break.

The Celtics also wore black warmup T-shirts bearing Havlicek’s No. 17.

The leading scorer in the history of the NBA’s most-decorated franchise, Havlicek died last week at the age of 79. For the Celtics’ first game back in Boston since then, the team placed remembrance books in the concourse so fans could add their memories.

“Hondo” Havlicek played 16 seasons in a Celtics uniform and won championships in eight of them — the first six in the Bill Russell era and then two more as the leader of a team with Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens. Havlicek, who was the 1974 NBA Finals MVP, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and named one of the 50 greatest players of the NBA’s first half-century.

But he is best remembered for his steal to clinch the 1965 Eastern Conference finals and the call from longtime Celtics radio play-by-play man Johnny Most, who shouted, “Havlicek stole the ball!” The replay during the Havlicek tribute on Friday drew applause from the crowd before Game 3 of the second-round series against Milwaukee.

After the video, fans gave a 30-second standing ovation while a spotlight shone on the banner with Havlicek’s retired No. 17.

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