1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 102, Knicks 100
It was time to hand deliver a message to the punks from New York.People were saying that it was the Knicks, not Don F. Gaston, Alan Cohen and Paul Dupee, who owned the Celtics. New York had won two straight and four of five from Boston, and there was talk that the Knicks, not the Celtics, would challenge Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division this season. Playing with the conviction of Buford Pusser, the Celtics invaded Madison Square Garden last night and ground out a foul-plagued, 102-100 victory over Hubie Brown's hustlers.
Despite a hail of technical fouls and the disqualification of Kevin McHale and heroic Dennis Johnson (26 points), the Celtics were able to win one for the Gimper (Larry Bird) and re-establish their status as one of the Eastern Conference's top two teams. "We were really tired of the Knicks talking," said Cedric Maxwell, who had 22 points in 40 brilliant minutes. "They said they don't feel intimidated by us anymore. Well, we wanted to put that feeling back in their hearts. I think we were pumped up for this game more than any other this year." "They want someone to come at 'em every time from now on?," asked M. L. Carr. "They got it. This is our new Philly."
The Celtics trailed by 14-2 early, led, 48-47, at intermission and took a 78-69 lead into the fourth.After Louis Orr helped the Knicks cut it to four with 7:12 left, the Celtics appeared to put the game away with a 9-0 run: DJ converted a three- point play, then Gerald Henderson scored after a steal to make it 91-82.Boston forced a 24-second violation and Robert Parish (14 points, 11 rebounds) canned a long turnaround to make it 93-82. After an offensive foul on Ernie Grunfeld, McHale (15 points) buried a turnaround to complete the run and give the Celtics their biggest lead, 95-82, with 5:15 left.
In the next five minutes, officials Gary Toone and Ken Mauer completely lost control and the Knicks outscored the Celtics, 12-1.The Celtics committed seven of their season-high 25 turnovers in the last 4:14, but Toone and Mauer were as careless as Boston's ballhandlers.Ray Williams (18 points) got things rolling down the stretch, and with 1:15 left, the no-quit Knicks cut it to three (99-96) on a pair of free throws by the indomitable Bernard King (24 points). Then King and Williams combined to steal a Henderson pass, and Williams scored on a drive to cut it to one (99-98) with one minute left. Maxwell was fouled and made one of two to give the Celtics a 100-98 lead.
Then Parish rebounded a miss by Rory Sparrow, but with 19 seconds left (two on the shot clock) DJ was tagged with a charge (his sixth foul) and the Knicks had the ball. It took New York only six seconds to tie it on a foul-line jumper by Williams. The Celtics called their last timeout with 0:13 showing. Henderson took the inbounds pass, drove the lane and fed to Maxwell. "That was a great play by Henderson," said Brown. Maxwell's sure layup was swatted away by Marvin Webster, a flagrant goaltend. Boston led by 102-100 with five seconds left and the Knicks then called time. Cartwright took the inbounds pass from Sparrow, moved to the middle, slipped and lost the ball.
He and Maxwell came up with it simultaneously and a jump ball was called with one second left. The final buzzer sounded as Cartwright controlled the tap to Williams. New York never got a final shot. "In the fourth quarter, we played defense the way we're capable of playing," said Brown. "Unfortunately, their first unit outplayed our first unit the first three times they were on the floor. GiveBoston credit, they made some incredibly tough shots under pressure." In the first half, McHale, Parish and Maxwell took an incredibly low nine shots. New York was sagging underneath and DJ and Henderson ended up carrying the offense. "You give it to us, we take it," said Johnson.
In the third quarter, the Celtics made a conscious effort to go inside. With the big three of McHale, Parish and Maxwell scoring 12, Boston hit six straight floor shots and rode a 14-5 surge to a 10-point lead, 62-52. Hitting 11 of 18 shots in the quarter and outrebounding New York, 14-6, the Celtics led by 12 (72-60) late in the third quarter and held a 78-67 margin at the period's end. The Celtics committed 12 turnovers in the fourth period, but hung on. "That showed me something," said K. C. Jones, who had to bite his tongue when asked about the officiating. "Our guys could have packed it in, but they didn't."