Knicks 118, Celtics 113
Game 4 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Series Tied 2-2
In the Knicks' locker room Bernard King had to box out more writers than he had Celtics earlier in the day. The reporters were interested in King's reaction to some statements in the newspaper last week.
"Bernard (King) has scored his last 40 points," M.L. Carr had said before Game 1. "He won't get any 40s here. We got somebody that can stop him. We got Max on him."
"It's going to be a monumental task to try to stop him, but he ain't getting 40 on us. We're going to stop (King)," were Cedric Maxwell's words.
"Well, maybe they were wrong," King said with a smile yesterday after he had scored 43 points on 17-of-25 shooting from the field (nine of 11 from the line) in the Knicks' 118-113 win. "I'm not mad. The game is played on the floor, not in the papers."
In pursuit of evening the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2, King was everywhere, playing 40 minutes, handing out four assists and collecting four rebounds.
"Three significant things happened," said the 6-foot-7 forward, who scored only 13 points in Game 2 at Boston. "The Celtics had been focusing on trying to deny me the ball; this time I got it more. Secondly, we went to Bill (Cartwright) early in the offense, and thirdly, we cut down on turnovers."
With 8:28 left in the second quarter, King slammed home an alley-oop from Ray Williams and was fouled by Maxwell for a three-point play. It marked the first (of three) standing ovations King drew in Madison Square Garden. One fan even waved a sign that said, "Larry may be a Bird, but Bernard is King."
While Williams (nine assists) smoothly guided the ball through the offense, King made the most of every opportunity.
With 10:51 left in the game, King's two free throws put the Knicks up, 89-87. Two minutes later, New York's three-point lead should have been upped to five when Maxwell grabbed King's jersey as he was going to the hoop. Instead, King was called for travelling.
"It definitely wasn't a walk," said King. "And it could have been crucial.
It wasn't, though, because King took a feed from Williams the next time down the court and swished a 10-footer from the baseline. His running one- hander with 5:48 left gave New York a 104-97 lead, and a fallaway jumper with three people on him raised the lead to 110-103.
Even Kevin McHale was impressed.
"I expected to rip off his shirt and find a big red S'," said McHale.
When King hit a free throw with 1:15 left (115-107), the crowd chanted, "MVP, MVP".
"I try to put myself on the line," said King, who added that no Knick gave up hope when the team was down by 0-2. "And now we have the momentum. We won two in a row and they lost two in a row."
"A lot of people gave us up for dead," said Trent Tucker, "but we didn't. We knew we had to get more aggressive defensively."
Before the game, Knicks coach Hubie Brown said he told the team, "You're only as down as you think you are" and "In your heart you have to know we can come back."
"I told them that 31 possessions kept us from winning in Boston - 23 turnovers and eight blocked shots. Today, we did things different.
"And today, Bernard was magnificent."