Celtics 116, Knicks 102
Game 2 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Celtics Lead Series 2-0
At least the Knicks could have won this one.
"They let us back in twice," said New York coach Hubie Brown. "The most important part of the game is at the end of the first half."
The lecture began.
"We had overcome a great first half by Larry Bird," Brown said.
Bird was 11 of 15 for 23 in the half with 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
"And Robert Parish had played a good half."
Parish had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
"But Bird had just been sensational."
We are all in agreement that Bird had played very well.
"And we had overcome 15 turnovers in the half. And so here we were, down two, with the ball, with one minute left," Brown said. "You would think we were in a good position. I thought we were."
"And unfortunately for us, our point guard gets stripped three times in a row. Went absolutely bananas. They outscore us, 7-0."
Boston led, 66-57, at halftime. New York had run with them. This apparently was not the kind of game New York wanted to play. The Knicks had won three regular-season games by slowing the game, playing halfcourt, keeping Boston to 103, 98, and 113 points, the latter in a double-overtime game. The Celtics hadn't scored more than 108 in regulation in their six games with New York.
But Boston won, 116-102, last night.
"We didn't do anything different than we have all year," said New York center Bill Cartwright (team-high 25). "We were just taking advantage of opportunities. When we had a chance to run, we ran."
"We think it's good to run in certain situations with them because they've got big front-line players and we don't think they run as well as ours," said Rory Sparrow, the point guard who was stripped three times late in the first half. "Our half-court offense didn't click. We missed a lot of open shots in our halfcourt offense. I thought our fast break was the big key to why we stayed close."
"It was hard for us not to run with them," Brown said, "because we were usually chasing 'em after turnovers."
There were other keys. Gerald Henderson's two three-pointers were big, Brown said. And the argument could be made that the Celtics put it away on Bird's one-on-three layup - on which the officials ruled Marvin Webster goaltended and fouled from behind for a three-point play - that put Boston ahead, 100-86, with 8:15 left.
And the Knicks had 27 turnovers.
"There is no doubt turnovers were a big part of this game," Brown said. "We were being stripped not only in the backcourt when we're 20 to 25 feet from the basket, but also on the power move to the hole, from the dotted line down."
Brown credited Bird.
"He was the guy who was causing all of the trouble tonight," Brown said. "He got to our people on the double-team and stripped them."
You have to give Bird credit, Brown said.
"He reminded me of a middle linebacker. We tried to do the same thing, but we were called for fouls. It's exasperating that every double-team punch of the ball is a clean strip on the other side of the floor. I have a teensy bit of a problem handling that."
The Knicks had their biggest problem understanding how forward Bernard King was called for elbowing Boston's Cedric Maxwell.
"That's always been the case, I've felt, with Boston," said New York's Truck Robinson. "I always thought Boston gets the best calls in this building or wherever. What happened at the end (a near fight) shouldn't have. They won't let any of us hurt Bird that way. They always let him throw elbows."