November 20, 1980
Now it can be told. The reason
Larry Bird has been such a board terror on this road trip (31 rebounds
in the two games, including 18 last night) is that he once again is a
"Larry would be
the last to tell you," said Bill Fitch, "but ever since he hurt that
finger in Philadelphia (Nov. 1) he's been struggling with the finger.
I've seen it on the videos. He's managed to protect himself, but most
often he's been a one-hand rebounder."
Bird jammed his
permanently gnarled right index finger during that epic overtime
struggle with the 76ers, and he has played every game since with his
finger being a problem. This is the finger he originally injured in a
freak softball accident in the spring of 1979, the one which, despite,
two operations, will probably be misshapen for the rest of his life.
casualty is Gerald Henderson, whose nose was broken in the Chicago game
Tuesday when 7-whatever Artis Gilmore took a swipe at the ball and
wound up rearranging Henderson's nose instead. He played last evening
with a face mask, scoring nine points. "It obstructed my vision on the
jumper, and on free throws," Henderson reported. "I'd like to get it
adjusted before the next game." . . . Said game is tomorrow evening at
the Garden, when Lloyd (I'm-Giving-It-Up-Now) Free, Bernard King, Joe
Barry Carroll and the rest of the Golden State Warriors come to town.
The Celtics then head to Richfield Township, Ohio, to face the Cavs on
Fitch on watching Bird: "The stats
never tell you the whole story. It's like something I've been thinking
about. Take two great painters like daVinci and Van Gogh. One of them
must have been more fun to watch than the other. It's the same with
Bird." . . . The 91 points represented the Pacer season low, as did the
17-point first-period output. A preseason prediction by Pacer GM Dick
Vertlieb has been borne out. He said that under Jack McKinney the club
would beat the teams it should beat this year. After last night's loss
the Pacers were 3-7 against over .500 teams and 8-2 against under .500