The topic of extended playing time was a constant source of irritation for Bird. His reasoning was fairly straightforward and it generally boiled down to the following:
A. "I train myself to play 48 minutes."
B. "They're paying me a lot of money, so I assume I should be playing."
C. "Who wouldn't want me on the floor?"
He was always ready to play long stretches during the playoffs. He always said that the extra TV timeouts put in for the playoffs made playing big minutes a no-sweat affair. In the 1981 playoffs he averaged 44 minutes a game. In the 1987 Detroit series he played 8,556 of a maximum 8,640 seconds during the final three games, which computes to a possible playing percentage of .9902777.