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3.10.2010

1984 NBA Finals: Celtics Pussy-Footed it in Game 1

1984 NBA Finals

GAME 1

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage

The guy scalping the tickets told you the show would be worth the $100, didn't he, Bunky? Couldn't go wrong, he said. Classic teams, classic matchups, classic series, sure to go to the wire. So what happens, Bunky? All the Celtics had their laces tied (you checked) but still they seemed to be stumbling and out of step.

Your $100 is gone and the Celtics are down, 30-12, before you put your wallet away. Should be some truth in scalper advertising, eh, Bunky? The slick guys should be required to tell you when one of the teams isn't going to show until halftime. Half a team playing half a game should be worth only half the price. $50 tops.

Oh, the Lakers were immense in that first quarter, running so well that Bird said the LA fast break "was the best I've ever seen since I've been in the league. They got anything they wanted, they always had three guys spread out, and they got a lot of easy baskets. We like to run, but there's no way we can run as good as they can. We're a good running team, but we're not as good as they are."

True, but where were the Celtics? If there was honor among thieves, the scalper maybe should have given you a hint that the Celtics were going to try to play the Lakers four-on-five, two guards and two forwards against their two guards, two forwards and a center. If you had been told that Parish wasn't going to play, you might have turned around and driven to the Cape, right, Bunky? But you didn't know.

But it didn't take long to find out. The roar, the deafening roar of welcome for the Celtics during the pregame introductions, was barely over before Boston was buried. The Lakers were off on their 30-12 tear, the team that was supposedly tired and drained was flashing by the Celtics with ease. Boston, supposedly fresh and rested, was stale and lethargic.

No harsh voices of protest were raised when Bird said the Lakers "beat us and beat us pretty good" or when Celtics' coach K.C. Jones called the first 12 minutes "the worst quarter we've played this season." The Celtics didn't shoot well in that first quarter, didn't run, didn't get back to stop the Lakers' break and didn't play aggressive defense. Otherwise, they played well.

"I really think we came out and played LA with kid gloves at the start," said Cedric Maxwell. "We didn't really touch them or bump them in the first few minutes, and we didn't touch and bump Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). Basically, they were able to do what they wanted."

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