Proof that the Hawks have constructed a first-class frontcourt was furnished by a stat sheet which revealed that Atlanta had become the first team in 29 games to outrebound the Celtics . It wasn't by much (39-38), but since the Celtics have outrebounded recent foes by more than 13 a game, the achievement was significant. And it was particularly telling on the offensive boards, where Atlanta came up with 16 rebounds to Boston's 8.
K.C. Jones switched Kevin McHale onto Dominique Wilkins in the second half, and the move had a positive effect both on the Boston defense and Larry Bird's offense . . . Bill Walton was magnificent with 17 points (5 for 6 from the floor), 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and some stellar defense, but he paid the price with a front tooth. He lost one when hit with an elbow in the third quarter.