COACH: RED AUERBACH
LIFETIME NBA RECORD: WON 588, LOST 350
Yes, Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman are a year older but this is still the finest basketball team ever assembled. Last year the Celtics had 17- and 7-game winning streaks and easily won their fourth consecutive Eastern Division championship. They look even better this season. Jim Loscutoff has recovered completely from a slipped disk operation, and a full season of Loscutoff adds power up front. This also permits Red Auerbach to use Frank Ramsey as a sixth man instead of as a starter. So Ramsey will again be the most dangerous substitute in the NBA. Bill Russell can hardly improve on defense and gets better every year on offense. Boston's first draft choice, Tom Sanders, has rebounded and scored well in exhibition games and he may be an alternate starter before the year is over. The Jones boys (Sam and K.C.) may play alternate quarters with Cousy and Sharman this year, a system that worked well in last season's playoffs with Philadelphia; they would be first-string anywhere else in the league. Tom Heinsohn is now an authentic All-Star, an intense, all-round competitor, and Gene Conley adds defensive and rebounding strength up front. Often undervalued, too, is Auerbach's tested skill in handling his players. Boston is best in the back-court, best in the forecourt and undeniably the best in the Eastern Division.