March 8, 1980
Among the new Celtic admirers is Philadelphia guard Doug Collins. Last night he was making his first appearance against the Celtics since undergoing surgery on both feet back in the fall, and it was not exactly a banner evening for the former All-Star guard, who shot 3 for 9 in 21 minutes of playing time.
Boston is a very good team," Collins said after the Celtics' 111-92 victory. "They're good in every facet of the game. They rebound, press and pass well. They have no weaknesses. They came up with a plus in Rick Robey. It looks as if (Dave) Cowens getting hurt was a blessing in disguise. It gave Robey the confidence and now Cowens can work his way back gradually."
Cowens played 21 minutes last night, and while his offense still isn't back (2 for 7), he has been available to play that fearsome defense as the Celtics have won every games since his return. M.L. Carr was his absolute most loveable self last night, stealing the ball three times and making a sensational recovery and pass to Gerald Henderson for a key basket in the second quarter . . . The teams were very cautious in the first 18 minutes. It was not dissimilar to a typical heavyweight title fight. "It was a playoff feel-out," explained Cowens. We were passing the ball too much.". . . A prime offender was Larry Bird, who only took six shots in the first half, and who started the game in his old polite November style instead of his recent take- charge style. "They just weren't running that many plays for me," he said. "In the second half, I was able to get along the baseline a couple of times." . . . Caldwell Jones managed the improbable feat of playing 30 minutes without attempting a shot, and fouling out. Cedric Maxwell made a memorable drive in the third period. Sprinting downcourt on a fast break, he was met by both 6-foot-11 Darryl Dawkins and the 7-foot
Jones. Maxwell managed a soft dunk over both of them while being fouled by Jones. That three-point play gave the Celtics the first of two 24-point leads they would enjoy . . . Pete Maravich beat the final buzzer with a 35-foot three-pointer to cap a 13-point performance . . . The Celtics thus concluded the home portion of the Philly series with their third rout. The amazing scores of Philly's three visits: 112-89, 129-110 and 111-92 . . . Julius Erving has now broken 30 points in four of the five games, despite being guarded very well. He has wound up taking an inordinate number of outside shots, but he has continually made them.
Bill Fitch is slowly turning the entire team into videotape addicts like himself. "It helps you more on defense than offense," he said. Defense is surely what won this game . . . "The thing now," said Robey, "is to get ourselves ready for this game, and we were really up for it. Now we have to get up again." . . . Olympic hockey captain Mike Eruzione was introduced to a great ovation before the game . . . The Bullets (tomorrow's Garden opponent) are one of the four teams to defeat the Celtics here, beating them by a 118-107 score on Jan. 25.