John Havlicek’s winning steal squares off against Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez’s brawl in the second round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
3. Havlicek steals the ballJohn Havlicek made one of the most memorable plays in NBA history. With five seconds remaining in Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference finals, and his Celtics clinging to a 110-109 lead over the 76ers, Havlicek anticipated Hal Greer’s inbounds pass, leaped in front of Chet Walker and tipped the ball to Celtics teammate Sam Jones, who dribbled out the remaining seconds until the Boston Garden crowd rushed the floor in celebration. Hondo’s steal was immortalized by legendary radio voice Johnny Most, who exclaimed, “Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over!” Referee Earl Strom, standing on the baseline as the play unfolded, regarded Havlicek’s deflection as one of the best defensive plays he ever saw in his 32 years in the league. The steal proved significant, as the C’s advanced to the NBA Finals and won their seventh consecutive NBA title by defeating the Lakers in five games.
6. Jason Varitek, Alex Rodriguez Fenway brawlThis moment was the first time the Yankees got socked in the mouth by the Red Sox in 2004, but it certainly wasn’t the last. On July 24, Jason Varitek gladly welcomed Alex Rodriguez to the fiercest rivalry in baseball. After getting hit by a Bronson Arroyo pitch in the top of the third inning, A-Rod began jawing at the pitcher. Varitek, the consummate captain, took exception and began to throw some R-rated words A-Rod’s way. Varitek then punched Rodriguez in the face with his mitt, promptly starting a benches-clearing brawl. Both players were ejected, but Varitek and the Red Sox got the last laugh, winning the game 11-10. They also got the last laugh that October, famously coming back from down three games to none to beat the Yankees in the AL championship series.
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