April 21, 1980
Bill Fitch might not have substituted very much yesterday, but he did make one valuable substitution that had a great impact on the outcome of the game with the 76ers.
Things weren't going especially well with 6:52 remaining in the third period. The 76ers had chopped a 15-point lead down to two at 62-60, and they were doing a decent job inside. Fitch inserted Rick Robey, who had only played for 1:17 in the first half, and who hadn't been used much in the first game either, for Cedric Maxwell. Robey contributed six points as the Celtics broke what turned into a 62-62 tie into a 74-64 three-quarter advantage on their way to a 96-90 victory. "We know Robey can play with Cowens," Fitch said. "That combination worked well for us against this team during the season."
The only other sub to play any meaningful time was Pete Maravich, who logged 12 minutes in the first half, shooting 4 for 5 from the floor . . . Darryl Dawkins, who has really been getting the old razoo from the Garden fans, sent the local folks into a frenzy when he actually air-balled a free throw with 4:03 left in the first half. The shot grazed the bottom of the net, but just barely . . . Dawkins scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 40 minutes of action, but he was not the presence he was in the opener.
Billy Cunningham on how he might defense Larry Bird: "We're sure not going to double up on him, because he will always find the open man, and that's when Boston is the most dangerous." . . . Julius Erving was subdued after getting off to a quick start. He elected not to tease the fans by throwing down a wild dunk in the first quarter after picking off a pass at half-court and having the field ahead of him. He just dunked like any old high school kid. But wait until he needs one . . . The question as to whether the league thinks the playoffs are a joke or something was raised yesterday when Lee Jones showed up to officiate such an important game . . . With no game coming up until Wednesday night, Fitch thinks he could play his key people the same amount of minutes, if he has to . . . The Sixers got 35 points out of their three-man bench, compared to the 14 Fitch received from his two-man unit . . . First- game hero Henry Bibby didn't have much of an affect on the game, but he did toss in a pair of fourth-quarter three-pointers, one of which was from four or five steps past the arc, and straightaway. The other was an unplanned, beat- the-clock job . . . Fitch removed Chris Ford briefly in the first half after the latter ran into a Dawkins pick in the backcourt. "It was a clean pick," reported Ford, who is already sporting bruises on both biceps ("from fighting through picks"). "His shoulder hit my jaw."