DJ, Celtics Sail in Seattle

1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 111, Sonics 100
Record 41-12
February 18, 1984


The Green Thunder rolled north to Puget Sound last night as the Boston Celtics demonstrated why they are the NBA's most succussful road show. In the giant parking garage (a/k/a the Kingdome), where Danny Ainge once homered off John Montague, Larry Bird conducted a memorable clinic (30 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists), and his Celtics teammates put the defensive screws to the Seattle SuperSonics in the fourth quarter.

Accordingly, the Celtics improved their coast record to 2-0 and disappointed 19,468 Pacific Northwesterners with a 111-100 victory over the Sonics. The Celtics led almost all the way. It was 32-30 after the first period and 60-50 at halftime. Bird stretched the lead to 12 early in the third period, but the Celtics went cold, and Gus Williams brought the Sonics back. It was 82-79 after three periods and 93-89 with 6:38 left, when Boston put it away. The winning, 12-2 surge started when Robert Parish canned a turnaround as the 24-second clock wound down. After a defensive rebound by Bird, Ainge buried a jumper from out top. Gus Williams (16) interrupted with a jumper, but Bird answered with a step-back from outside to make it 99-91.

Kevin McHale then hit a pair of free throws and came up with a loose-ball rebound while he was on the floor. Bird's next offering was a fall-down fallaway in which he crashed to the woodwork as the ball swished through the chords. Two more free throws by McHale completed an 8-0 surge and made it 105-91 with 2:36 left. Ballgame. "I'd say this game was about an eight for us on a scale of 10," said McHale. "But there aren't very many teams that can beat us when we play an eight." Bird's performace came on the heels of his 16-point, nine-rebound, 17- assist game in Oakland Thursday night. It would be diffucult to quarrel with his level of play thus far.

"That's the best I've ever seen him shoot," said Sonic coach Lenny Wilkens. Meanwhile, local hero Dennis Johnson made a proud return to the Pacific Northwest. He had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks in 44 minutes. He also helped shut down his old teammates, who converted only six of 17 shots (.352) in their 21-point final quarter. Cedric Maxwell added 18 points, Parish had 12 rebounds and Ainge played his second straight strong game. Ainge scored 11 points (4-for-6 shooting) in 24 minutes.

Maxwell, fresh off his career-high 24 in Oakland Thursday, tookReggie King into the torture chamber for 12 inside points in the first quarter. The Celtics shot 58 percent (14-24) in the period and forced seven Seattle turnovers. The Sonics, who came into the game with 11 consecutive home victories, were without basketball's answer to Dave Stapleton - Danny Vranes. Vranes was scratched due to a sprained wrist. Tom Chambers (18 points) started with King and captain Jack Sikma (18 points, 15 rebounds). Gus Williams and Al Wood started in the backcourt. Chambers put Seattle on top, 18-16, but the Celtics erupted for six straight to take the lead for good. Bird, who loathes the depth-perception problems of the Dome, had four baskets and two free throws in the first period.

The Celtics bolted out of the blocks in the second period and took a 40-34 lead on a fast-break basket by Maxwell, which forced a Wilkens timeout with 9:16 left in the second. Meanwhile, the Sonics were hitting only eight of 21 from the floor in the second period. Bird capped an 8-0 run with a sneakaway and two bombs to make it 52-42 with 3:49 left in the half. A Maxwell basket after a Gerald Henderson steal gave the Celtics their biggest lead of the half, 58-46. Downtown Freddie Brown (18 points) kept the Sonics in it with 14 in the first two periods. Bird shot and passed the Celtics to a 12-point lead early in the third. An outrageous fallaway jumper by the Hoosier Hoop hotshot made it 72-60, but the Celtics were outscored, 19-10, the rest of the way, and Boston's lead was down to three after three periods. The Celtics committed eight turnovers in the period. An incident in the closing seconds of the third period set the tone for the fourth. Scott Wedman was tagged with a personal for a retaliatory elbow that landed on Chambers. Chambers went to the line for two, plus one more when K. C. Jones was tagged with a technical.

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