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10.28.2010

Bird's Rookie Year: December 13, 1979

THE REVIVAL OF DAVE COWENS

December 13, 1979

Dave Cowens. The name must have tumbled from the lips of friend and foe alike a thousand times last night after the Celtics had defeated the Nets by that 116-102 score. Larry Bird had played well. Cedric Maxwell had earned his coach's respect ("He played an excellent game"). Gerald Henderson had unveiled his Lazarus routine. But everyone kept coming back to Dave Cowens.

"I thought Cowens was sensational," began Kevin Loughery. "I've always been an admirer of his, but to see a veteran of I don't know how many years go diving on the floor the way he did, well, it's just good for the game. He's some leader, and a thing like that is contagious. I just love to see him playing that way. You see him out there and you start thinking you should maybe get a few calls, but the way he works, he deserves the breaks. He earns them."

Bob MacKinnon was a close observer of the Celtics' situation last year as a year-long assistant. He grew to admire Dave as a person, but he really never got a chance to see the real ballplayer. Last night vindicated his old feelings about Cowens. "I'll give you a very good illustration," MacKinnon said. "We throw a long lob pass to Winford Boynes. He's three steps ahead of Cowens, and by the time the ball bounces he deflects the ball out of bounds with his final lunge. Most guys in the league, and that means every guard, too, never touch the ball. All night long, Cowens put forth a great individual effort and it's good to see, even if it's hurting us."

Bill Fitch was no less effusive in praise of Cowens' efforts. "Many times on defense," Fitch said, "Cowens was our saving grace. Dave played a great game tonight, but I was happy about our entire front line. That's as well as Dave, Max and Bird have played together in some time."

As for Cowens himself, he said that he just felt strong. "I don't really know why," he said. "I guess it's just because I'm home. I always feel better when I'm home."

M.L. Carr's injured right wrist was X-rayed at University Hospital yesterday, and the plates reveal there is no fracture, only a severe sprain. He was very ineffective, as he was the first to admit. "I told the guys that when I had the ball to spot up so I could get them the ball in a shooting position," he explained ... The Celtics were scintillating during a first- period passing exhibition reminiscent of the San Antonio home game (14 assists in 15 baskets on that occasion). One highlight was a long pass from Chris Ford to Maxwell, with the latter peeling the ball off the ears of two defenders before wheeling in for the dunk. It looked exactly like a Jaworski- to-Carmichael TD aerial. The Nets' John Williamson did not play, a combination of a wrist injury and his present low status on the team. "We told him," said Nets' general manager Charlie Theokas, "to get in shape and when he was ready we'd start playing him." ... The Nets had 22 offensive rebounds (to Boston's 19) in this rugged game ... Chris Ford's 3-for-6 three-point shooting increased his phenomenal ICBM streak to at least one in 11 straight games (remember that Dale Long only homered in eight) during which he has shot a cool 22-for-38 from Quincy Market and like locations. He is establishing a mark which may stand up for a very long time.


Bill Fitch was no less effusive in praise of Cowens' efforts. "Many times on defense," Fitch said, "Cowens was our saving grace. Dave played a great game tonight, but I was happy about our entire front line. That's as well as Dave, Max and Bird have played together in some time."

As for Cowens himself, he said that he just felt strong. "I don't really know why," he said. "I guess it's just because I'm home. I always feel better when I'm home."

M.L. Carr's injured right wrist was X-rayed at University Hospital yesterday, and the plates reveal there is no fracture, only a severe sprain. He was very ineffective, as he was the first to admit. "I told the guys that when I had the ball to spot up so I could get them the ball in a shooting position," he explained ... The Celtics were scintillating during a first- period passing exhibition reminiscent of the San Antonio home game (14 assists in 15 baskets on that occasion). One highlight was a long pass from Chris Ford to Maxwell, with the latter peeling the ball off the ears of two defenders before wheeling in for the dunk. It looked exactly like a Jaworski- to-Carmichael TD aerial. The Nets' John Williamson did not play, a combination of a wrist injury and his present low status on the team. "We told him," said Nets' general manager Charlie Theokas, "to get in shape and when he was ready we'd start playing him." ... The Nets had 22 offensive rebounds (to Boston's 19) in this rugged game ... Chris Ford's 3-for-6 three-point shooting increased his phenomenal ICBM streak to at least one in 11 straight games (remember that Dale Long only homered in eight) during which he has shot a cool 22-for-38 from Quincy Market and like locations. He is establishing a mark which may stand up for a very long time.

1 comment:

Lex said...

I wonder if the Celtics realize that they are the best team in the east by a mile, and thus only get up for games against decent teams?

If so, this would be slightly different than last year.

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