21. Mike Gminski vs. Boston Celtics, April 9, 1986
The playoff spots were already secured. The visitors were in tune-up mode, having already locked up the NBA’s best record.
This late season game between the Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets at Brendan Byrne Arena meant more to the Nets than the Celtics.
Sir Charles In Charge
New Jersey was in a battle with the Washington Bullets for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference (the difference being a series against the really good Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3 or the really good Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2).
The Celtics were already 65-14, while New Jersey came in 38-41 and Boston was playing its starters, just not as much.
Gminski had the game of his life, posting career-highs with 41 points and 22 rebounds, while also adding three assists, as the Nets surprised the Celtics 108-98, coming back from a 83-77 deficit entering the fourth quarter by blowing out Boston 31-15 over the final 12 minutes.
Gminski had been the No. 7 overall pick by the Nets in 1980 and started as a rookie before undergoing surgery to repair a damaged nerve in his elbow. He spent the next three seasons as a reserve before finally reclaining the starting job in 1984 when Darryl Dawkins‘ back gave out.
Against the Celtics, Gminski hit 15-of-23 from the floor and 11-of-12 at the line, while getting seven offensive boards.
It put a nice bow on a season in which he emerged as a solid NBA starter, averaging 16.5 points and 8.2 boards in 31.2 minutes a game on .517/0-for-1/.893 shooting.