1990-91 Boston Celtics
Remembering the 29-5 Start
The Celtics stopped by southern Florida long enough yesterday to enjoy the weather, get some needed rest and build up their frequent flier portfolios. They then went out and slaughtered the hapless Heat, 114-100.
It was never really a contest. The Celtics led by 29 in the third quarter and by 26 after three. Coach Chris Ford went to his bench, and garbage time kicked in big time, producing the closer-than-it-should-have-been final score.
It was pretty much a perspiration-free evening for everyone from Boston. Robert Parish came out and absolutely feasted on a subpar Rony Seikaly. Parish wound up with 23 points, 13 rebounds and a blocked shot in 27 minutes. He set the tone from the outset (11 points, 6 rebounds in the first quarter), and everything else fell into place.
"It's teams like this that you gotta get up for. Otherwise, you'll get embarrassed," said Parish, who was 7 for 11 from the field. "You gotta beat teams like this. Detroit, LA, you don't know. But if you let down mentally against a team like this, you can get embarrassed."
The victory was the fourth straight for the Celtics and 15th in their last 17 games. They are 9-0 lifetime against Miami and one day, maybe coach Ron Rothstein will be able to emerge from a locker room after a Boston game and not look as if he hadn't slept in three weeks.
The Celtics led by 11 after one, by the same margin at the half (they had a minor relapse in the second quarter) and by 90-64 after three. The Celtics didn't even need much from Larry Bird, who registered his third triple-single of the year (9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists). Brian Shaw (19 points), Reggie Lewis (17) and Kevin McHale (14) were more than enough to handle the outmanned Heat.
Things got so out of hand that Ford actually sat on the bench for almost all of the fourth quarter. We are not making this up.
The game had all the makings of a mismatch even before the opening tap. Miami had lost six straight and, record-wise, was making little progress in its effort to become something other than the universally scorned expansion team. And the Celtics are on a roll, which is bad news for anyone, especially the downtrodden.
Things took a downward turn for 5-16 Miami when it learned sparkplug point guard Sherman Douglas wouldn't be available because of a "contusion on the left bicep." He had injured it the night before against Philadelphia. Said assistant coach Tony Fiorentino, "He has a big bump on his elbow. And it hurts."
In addition, Seikaly did a remarkable imitation of the Invisible Man, going 1 for 8 from the field and grabbing three rebounds in 18 minutes. It turned out he was bothered by a groin injury.
"I really wanted to play, but it was a mistake," Seikaly said. "If you're injured and can't move around, maybe someone else can."
But this isn't Penn State football, and Rothstein can't simply plug in another blue-chipper when his starter can't go. So the Celtics saw a lot of Terry Davis and Alec Kessler, which should partly explain why Parish was able to have his way.
"If we're going to have a chance against a team like this, we need Sherman Douglas and we need a healthy Rony Seikaly," Rothstein said. He added that Glen Rice was bothered by a cold and had trouble breathing.
Bird said he didn't notice that Seikaly missed most of the second half but agreed with Rothstein that Douglas' absence was a key.
"He can penetrate, dish it off, get your big guys in foul trouble," Bird said. "Without him, they probably felt out of it a little bit."
Despite their misfortune, the Heat hung in there for a half, trailing only by 11. But the Celtics got serious in the third quarter, opening with 6 unanswered points on a Parish turnaround, a Bird (4 for 11) 20-footer and a Kevin Gamble layup off a beatiful feed from Bird.
The Heat managed to get back to within 13 but no closer. Shaw and Gamble each had 4 points in a 10-0 run which pushed the lead out to 75-52 with five minutes remaining. That pretty much ended it.