Defense Strangles Toney

Celtics 3, Sixers 3
Eastern Conference Finals

1981-82 Boston Celtics

Remember Andrew Toney?

Was it only last Sunday that he scored 39 points against the Celtics?

Last night, Toney had only three points on a pitiful 1 for 11 from the field in 31 minutes of play. His shooting stats don't show his four turnovers or his inability to act as a passer when the Celtics once again went to double and triple teams to shake up the Sixers' offense.

He averaged 23.6 and 52 percent shooting from the field going into the game. But against the Celtics last night, he virtually vanished, forcing 76er coach Billy Cunningham to go to his bench for Lionel Hollins.

"I think he was a little tentative," said Cunningham. "I just told him to go for it."

Toney went for it but simply didn't have it.

"My shot just wasn't going in," said Toney. "When it isn't going right, it just isn't going right. I concentrate just as hard as I can on doing my job, but it just wasn't going in.

"I had no rhythm from the start. It was just a bad game for me tonight. I wasn't tired or hurt. Maybe it was concentration. I really don't know. Once you have those bad games, you tend to look back and figure out what happened.

"We have another chance on Sunday. They came back. We still got one more chance to win it."-

Larry Bird said the nicest thing about returning home for Game 7 is that it will be at Boston Garden. "My shooting hasn't been what it should have been in this series," he said. "But I know I can shoot at the Garden. We know Philly is capable of coming back. But they still have to win four games to get to the finals, and it's a great feeling to know we get our chance to win the fourth at the Garden where the fans will be there to back us."-

The Sixers shot only 35 percent (27-74) . . . Julius Erving led the Sixers with 24 points and 17 rebounds, but with Toney missing, Erving became an outside shooter and had an 8-for-20 night. Mo Cheeks shot 6 for 19.-

Robert Parish got seven of his 13 rebounds in the fourth period, playing with five fouls . . . Danny Ainge was 1 for 11 until he sank a jumper with 3:18 left that gave Boston a commanding 5-point lead at 78-73 . . . The Sixers hit only two of 14 shots in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter . . . The Celtics took a charter home last night after the game instead of waiting until the next morning.

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