10.03.2008

Bird's Spinning, Reverse, Overhead Lay-In Highlights Win over Bulls

Green Moves to 2-1

1981-82 Boston Celtics

Larry Bird has done it again.

Oops, the score. Boston 115, Chicago 93. The Celtics managed to keep both teams in the game for a half, until Boston's innate skill and Chicago's puzzling lassitude - the Bulls played as if on the last day of a two-week Coast trip in February - resulted in a third-quarter explosion and the elimination of competition for the evening.

Highlighting the third period, and the game, in fact, was Bird's latest artful offensive creation, a shot described by Steve Nazzaro on the official running sheet as a "spinning reverse overhead layup," by Bird as a "scooper- duper" and by most members of the audience as an impossibility. The score was 55-46, Boston early in the second half when Bird, at top speed and finding himself about to be the gulper of a certified Wilsonburger, held back on his drive, floated with his back toward defender David Greenwood and banked in a something-or-other while facing the opposing basket, drawing a foul in the process.

"I looked up where Red (Auerbach) and Harry (Mangurian) sit," said Bill Fitch, "and noticed they hadn't returned to their seats from the halftime break yet. That's a helluva play Larry made, and it would have been a shame to miss it. That's like coming in late to the first Walcott fight." (Fitch, of course, means the second Marciano-Walcott fight, the one-round knockout in Chicago. However).

When Bird tapped in a missed Chris Ford three-pointer 34 seconds later, it was 60-46, Boston, and Chicago coach Jerry Sloan was forced into calling a time out. No matter. The listless Bulls would never come closer than 10 again, and in the final quarter their closest encroachment would be 16.

There had only been a game for the first four minutes, for at 10-8, Chicago, Bird ignited a run of 10 unanswered points with a long jumper that would be the start of a 17-3 run. The Bulls simply had no fight, finding themselves as close as six (27-21) at the quarter and seven (53-46) at the half, primarily due to Boston's largesse. The only Bulls who played anything close to their normal games were Reggie Theus (26), Dwight Jones (10) and sub Coby Dietrick (10). The rest would have had difficulty being drafted in the eighth round.

Aside from Bird's latest virtuoso display (26 points and a career-high five blocks), outstanding Boston individuals included Kevin McHale (21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes), Tiny (eight-assist) Archibald and Cedric Maxwell (sporadic offense, but a fine defensive job on David Greenwood).

The crowd already has high expectations for this quartet, however. What pleased the patrons was the play of guards Terry Duerod and Charles Bradley. The former matched his hustling, efficient Opening Night effort, especially in the second quarter (when he was on the floor during a significant 13-4 period- opening burst), while the latter submitted eight adventurous minutes that included seven points, three steals, one very nice drive and four personals. There is little doubt that Bradley is a make-things-happen player. "If he were a boxer," said Fitch, "I don't think he'd ever be involved in a decision."

To conclude anything definitive from this game would be a error, becase the Bulls are simply not playing well at present. Perhaps the only legitimate conclusion was put forth by Rick Robey. "Nothing, and I mean nothing, Larry does surprises me," declared Robey.

Go ahead, say he's worth the price of admission. Harry Mangurian won't argue.

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