Knicks 100, Celtics 92
Game 3 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Celtics Lead Series 2-1
So much for fo', fo', fo'. Cancel those theatre plans you were making for next Wednesday night. Just when the Celtics and their fans were starting to think, "Hey, the Bullets were tougher than these guys," Hubie Brown's hombres shoved some humble pie into the Green Team.
The get-no-respect Knicks beat the cocky Celtics, 100-92, last night, closing the gap to 2-1 in this best-of-seven Eastern semifinal. There will be a Game 5 in Boston Wednesday and maybe Games 6 and 7 if the Celtics gasp at the free-throw line and let the Knick guards run amok as they did last night.
New York led for most of the first half, but Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale scored 34 in the first two periods as the Celtics staggered to a 52-50 lead at intermission.
It was tied six times in the first nine minutes of the third quarter. When the Celtics went cold (two field goals in the final nine minutes of the period) the Knicks went on a 9-2 run to close the period with a 77-70 lead. The Knicks never trailed thereafter.
New York's momentum carried over into the early part of the fourth. Ray Williams (an heroic 22 points the day after his sister's funeral) beat the Celtics with a tap-in, a jumper in the lane and an alley-oop pass to Louis Orr. Orr's basket gave New York its biggest lead of the game (83-72), and forced a Boston timeout as the Garden rocked. Just about everybody was in foul trouble at that point.
The Celtics tightened up on defense (holding New York to one field goal in four and a half minutes) and cut it to four (85-81) on an outrageous fallaway by Bird.
The Celtics got it down to three, but Boston's comeback was hindered as Quinn Buckner, McHale, free throw champion Bird and Dennis Johnson each missed two foul shots.
After Bird's two misses, Bill Cartwright (a visible 25) hit two from the line and the Knicks led, 92-85, with 4:10 left.
A wild flurry, in which the ball exchanged hands about eight times (without anyone scoring), DJ cut it to five with a turnaround. Then Truck Robinson missed an ill-conceived shot and Bernard King (24 points) picked up his fifth foul going for the loose ball. When DJ missed both, you knew the Celtics were all done.
Rory Sparrow drove a stake in the Green with a jumper to make it 94-87 with 2:31 left. When Williams hit a technical free throw shot, it was 95-87.
Gerald Henderson and DJ came up with some nice steals, but New York's gallant guards came back with jumpers and it was 99-92 with 47 seconds left when the organist went into "New York, New York."
Everyone knew the Knicks had to establish something at the start, which they did. After an inaudible national anthem (the crowd was so excited it almost cheered for Robinson), New York raced to 11 straight points and a 13-5 lead.
The Celtics were missing while the Knicks were running. Sparrow scored three times off the break and King burned Boston with a sneakaway and a transition jumper.
Bird and Parish brought the Celtics back, but Boston couldn't get into a normal offensive flow. Meanwhile, Cartwright (14 points in the first quarter) dominated inside. Cartwright hit five of five from the floor and four of four from the line in the first 12 minutes. He shot the Knicks to a 22-14 lead before McHale cut it to 22-21 with a batch of free throws.
Williams took over the rest of the first quarter, scoring seven points in the final two minutes of the period and the Knicks led, 33-25, after one.
Fed up with Boston's 38-percent (8 for 21) first-quarter shooting, K.C. Jones started the second quarter with Scott Wedman in the backcourt. Wedman hit his first two shots, cutting the lead to four.
While both teams cooled off for a while, Bird picked up his second and third personals, plus a technical for jawing with Darrell Garretson. Bird had three with 5:32 left in the half, but stayed in the game - a bold move by Jones.
The gamble paid off. Bird scored four straight, snatched a rebound and fed Parish, who was fouled. Two free throws by Parish gave the Celtics a 45-44 lead with 3:29 left in the half. It was Boston's first lead since 5-2.
Bird came out, but the Celtics kept the heat on. After a vicious McHale block of a King shot, Dennis Johnson hit two free throws to make it 47-44.
Two free throws by Cedric Maxwell (on Williams' fourth personal) gave Boston a four-point lead, but Williams scored on a dazzling drive before the buzzer and the Celtics led, 52-50.