This Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of an iconic moment in Cleveland Cavaliers history: their first game at the Richfield Coliseum. The contest against the defending champion Boston Celtics (won by Boston, 107-92) signified that the Cavaliers were now playing in a legitimate facility, and would for the next 20 seasons.
Prior to that game, the team’s home for its first four campaigns had been the decaying Cleveland Arena, an undersized (capacity 10,000+) and decaying structure built during the Depression. How dilapidated was the building? Reportedly, Celtics’ Hall of Fame guard John Havlicek would change into his uniform—in the hotel across the street—for fear of contracting an infection in the opposing locker room.
Within two years of the move, Cleveland would experience the Miracle of Richfield, marking the team’s first playoff appearance. The team eventually reached the Eastern Conference finals before they fell to those same Celtics.
In the next 18 years, the Cavs would be part of more memorable games in their new home. Below is a list of the top 10 most memorable contests at the Richfield Coliseum, starting with #10:
10. Brad Daugherty Scores 44 in Cavs Win (April 15, 1988)
Second-year center Daugherty is a one-man force in leading a 120-109 comeback victory against the Celtics. The Cavaliers trail 94-90 in the fourth quarter when Daugherty goes crazy, scoring 17 points in 5 ½ minutes, including 11 straight. He finishes the night with a career-high 44 points. (Continue on next page!)