12.04.2010

Bird's Rookie Year: December 30, 1979

December 30, 1979

The teams wound up in a well deserved 47-47 halftime tie, since neither had done much to warrant designation as a certified professional team during the first 24 minutes.

Given that the Warriors entered the game as the last-place team in the Pacific Division, and that the Celtics had come into the Oakland Coliseum Arena as the first-place team in the entire Eastern Conference, it can rightfully be submitted that the home team dragged Boston down to its level, and not nice- versa.

The truth is that any decent NBA team playing well would have been ahead by 15 points against either of these clubs. A ragged first quarter ended with the score tied at 24-24 in a quarter of play marked by turnovers on both sides.

Coach Bill Fitch substituted more than his norm, as the Celtics were playing their third game in three nights. He had Gerald Henderson and M. L. Carr in by the game's seventh minute, and Robey in for Cowens by the ninth minute.

The teams exchanged the lead eigth times through a 16-15 Golden State lead before the home team opened up a little daylight with a run of six straight which gave it a five-point lead at 20-15, and two others at 22-17 and 24-19, before the Celtics scored the final five points of the quarter.

Nobody played particularly well on either team. Golden State had eight turn-overs, good for but one Celtic point, while the flip side was six Celtic miscues good for just two Warrior points. Some basketball, huh?

Boston had the best chance to build a halftime lead, having pulled ahead by six points (41-35) with 4:43 remaining until intermission. But Golden State took advantage of a late Celtic dip, tying the score at 47-47 on a long, what- the-hell turn around by center Robert Parish.

The only remote shred of excitement in the lackluster first half was the passing of Bird, who had four spectacular assists.

The Celtics were trying to run, at least, but nobody could decipher the Golden State intentions. The Warriors had some of the more inventive turnovers seen this season, and it's not quite certain how they managed to keep pace with the Celtics.

After shuffling personnel in a hectic manner during the first quarter, Fitch maintained the unit of Cowens, Bird, M.L. Carr, Ford and Gerald Henderson for the final nine minutes of the half after Henderson replaced Tiny Archibald in the lineup.

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