The memories of the 1981 title that reside in my mind start, and pretty much end, with the historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit against the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The next 3 games were decided by five total points. The Celtics fell behind early in all three games, fought hard in the 2nd half to get back in the game and had a nail-biting finish in all three wins. Bird was amazing, especially in the 2nd half in those games averaging 26.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.7 steals and 2 blocks per game with shooting splits of 46/100/91.7.
It was riveting entertainment and the "real" NBA Finals as neither Boston nor Philly were going to lose to either WCF participant, Houston or Kansas City, as both were clearly inferior teams to their ECF counterparts.
It was this series that began the legend of Larry Bird and made him the new darling athlete in the city of Boston. He instantly became beloved.
After Boston dispatched of Houston in the Finals, I remember like it was yesterday, the sounds of honking car horns blaring for over 15 minutes everywhere across the city because if you weren't home watching, you were in your car listening.
The Boston Celtics, for the first time in their history became the city's most popular team in Boston and would stay there for most of the next 10-12 years.(The '86 Red Sox and Roger Clemens took that spot over for a year.)