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8.24.2010

Larry v. Magic: Game 14 (part 2)

1984 NBA Finals Game 7

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary

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

Bird: Lakers Better Wear Hard Hats for Game 7

BOSTON

By now, the governor should have been alerted and the National Guard should be in position outside North Station.

Boston's Larry Bird was practically inciting the fans here to riot as the Celtics and Lakers prepared for Game 7 of the NBA's Championship Series tonight (Channel 10, 9 p.m.) at Boston Garden.

Bird was upset that teammate M.L. Carr was splashed in the face with a beer as the Celtics walked off the court at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., after a 119-108 loss in Game 6. And, he spewed some venom of his own at the Lakers.

''I'm not predicting anything will happen in the Garden,'' Bird said. ''But after what happened to M.L., the Lakers better wear hard hats on the bench instead of oxygen masks. Our fans can do anything. You never want to do that and then go back to the other fellow's building. You don't want to turn the Boston fans loose.

''If a guy had walked up to M.L. and done it face-to-face, it would have been different. But to do it from 20 rows up . . . if the fans got wind of it or saw it on TV, they will do something. I hope they don't, but I think they will be ready to explode.''

Bird has been outspoken throughout this volatile series. He said his teammates played like ''sissies'' after an embarrassing 33-point loss in Game 3. Then, on Sunday, he claimed that NBA commissioner David Stern told a fan that the league wanted a seventh game for financial reasons.

But Bird's latest apparent premeditated verbal outburst goes beyond the bounds of good taste when it threatens crowd control. And Los Angeles coach Pat Riley thinks it does.

''I've always had a lot of respect for Larry as a person who does his job and keeps his mouth shut,'' Riley said. ''But I'm starting to think he's cracking up from the strain. Maybe he can control his teammates but I don't know how he's going to control 15,000 fans.''

The Garden should be a tinderbox as it is, with the temperature inside the sauna expected to be in the high 90s and so much on the line.

''I'm sure, if it's cool that day, they're going to turn the temperature up to about 110,'' said Celtics forward and minister of hype Cedric Maxwell.

Boston general manager Red Auerbach has been notorious for that kind of stunt in the past. But Auerbach, who will retire after this game, was acting awfully sanctimonious about the deteriorating condition of the antique building where his team plays.

''Maybe all the negative things that are being written about the Garden by writers from around the country will help us get a new building,'' Auerbach said. ''We're the only building in the league without air conditioning.' '

The Boston Garden, which is owned by the Bruins, was orginally built in 1928, long before NBA playoffs extended into June.

''It would cost $2 million to install air conditioning,'' Auerbach guesstimated. ''And they still couldn't do it the right way.''

The Celtics figure to have a major advantage if the building is a steam bath. They drowned the Lakers in a sea of perspiration last Friday during a 121-103 victory in Game 5.

''Hopefully, it will be 100 degrees there,'' Boston forward Kevin McHale said. ''They seemed to have problems with the heat.''

McHale has been a central figure in this theater of the absurd after he horse-collared Lakers forward Kurt Rambis when Rambis tried to score on a breakaway layup in Game 4.

But McHale did not want to get into a war of words after Lakers forward James Worthy pushed Maxwell in a similar play in Game 6.

''You are not going to see us sit here and cry and call them things,'' McHale said. ''The only way to survive now is to keep quiet, go out and play aggressive basketball.''

Maxwell was more open with his comments, ripping the Forum fans after they tried to root him into missing a pair of free throws just before the half on Sunday.

''I wish those freaks' arms would have fallen off,'' Maxwell said. ''I was going to make those, so it didn't matter.''

The Celtics know what they have to do to win a 15th NBA championship. For openers, they must find a way to get Bird more than 11 shots. They must continue to pound the offensive glass. They must show more patience in their halfcourt offense, making the Lakers' defense adjust to the extra pass. They must continue to make Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LA's 37-year-old center, run the floor. And they must continue to pressure guard Magic Jonson the length of the floor, hoping to wear down his gimpy left knee.

''There's only so much you can tell a team now,'' Celtics assistant coach Chris Ford said. ''If they don't know what it takes, they never will.''

The Celtics actually were in position to drink champagne in Game 6. Boston outplayed the Lakers for 35 minutes before collapsing down the stretch when rookie guard Byron Scott came off the bench to ignite a rally that turned the game around.

Scott, who scored 11 points, is a creative offensive player, much like Andrew Toney and World Free. Both Toney and Free are notorious for the problems they caused the Celtics in past playoffs with the Sixers. Scott has the same explosive potential.

Both teams will depend basically on six players in the grand finale, with Boston going to McHale for instant gratification and Los Angeles looking to Scott to supply the offensive punch that will be missing without injured Bob McAdoo.

''It's going to be an all-out war,'' Maxwell said. ''We've had two overtime games. We've had two games that have been blowouts, games that were given away.

''I think the first six games were very even. I think a lot of people wrote us off, the same way a lot of people wrote the Lakers off. But, both teams have bounced back.

''The Lakers are like vampires, really. You never can keep them down until you drive a stake into their heart. You can rest assured somebody's going to get a stake driven into their heart come Tuesday night.''

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