The Celtics were flirting with the prospect of a fifth consecutive road loss Saturday night. Bump-and-run Adrian Dantley had 39 points, Boston had blown a 13-point second-half lead, and Dennis Johnson missed two free throws with 17 seconds left that would have iced the game against the Utah Jazz.
Leading, 110-108, the Celtics braced themselves for Utah's final shot. Everybody figured Dantley would get the call. Instead, rookie Karl (The Mailman) Malone attempted a one-handed runner that caromed off the rim and into the hands of Larry Bird with two seconds left. Ball game.