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 two-hand rebounder.
"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.
Another 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 Saturday night.
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 teams.