October 30, 1980
Robert Parish scored 23 points and the Celtics used their height to outmuscle the Detroit Pistons to a 103-85 victory last night.
The Celtics led by nine points at halftime. But Boston's power squad, with four players 6-foot-10 or taller, ran away from the Pistons in the second half.
The 7-foot Parish received scoring help from reserve center Rick Robey with 15 points and forward Cedric Maxwell with 14 points.
What Celtics' coach Bill Fitch feared the most happened in the opening minutes. "The Pistons are the best 1-7 team in the league," he said with a grin before the game. "By that, I mean they really come after you and hustle."
That was readily apparent in the opening minutes when Detroit jumped to an 8-2 lead, not only beating Boston on the fast break, but intimidating them inside, mostly through the efforts of Terry (Terrific) Tyler, one of the best leapers in the NBA, despite his 6-7 frame.
But precision and not muscle is Boston's game and they began a slow march to a tie at 16-16. Tiny Archibald and Chris Ford hit long jumpers to loosen up the middle. That opened things for Robert Parrish, who drove the middle for two baskets and eventually put the Celtics ahead at 20-18 with a slam dunk. Detroit, led by Kent Benson, stayed close, but Boston led at the quarter, 29-20.
It was a different story in the second period, however, as Boston's strength inside began to overpower the Pistons. From a 38-34 lead, Boston reeled off six quick points, two on fast breaks. The lead grew to 46-36 on a power layup by Robey, and there were more surprises in store, as the Pistons were to learn.
Midway through the second period, coach Bill Fitch pulled out a trump card. With both Archibald and Ford starting, he needed a fourth guard to play alongide Gerry Henderson. He nominated Larry Bird, who responded with the moves of a 6-foot-2 guard, including a delicious three-pass, fast-break basket that Cedric Maxwell finished off for a 50-40 lead. The Pistons made a brief run after falling behind, 56-44, but at halftime Boston led 58-49.
Maxwell led Boston in scoring with 12 points as the Celtics shot 63 percent (24 for 38) in the first half.
The NBA news today will be in New York City, when the league honors its greatest all-time figures in a 35th anniversary noontime luncheon at Gallagher's Restaurant.
Highlight of the festivities will be the announcement of an 11-man All- Time team, an All-Time player, an All-Time coach, and a one-season All-Time best team. Identity of the teams is supposed to be a secret, but there is no chance of hiding the names of the top player and coach. Suffice it to say that each of these gentlemen has a Boston background.
The winners were selected by a vote of writers and broadcasters, and it will be interesting to compare this squad to the 10-man Silver Anniversary team chosen in 1971. That squad included no players active at the time, while this one will. For the record, here is the 1971 team: Bill Russell, George Mikan, Bob Pettit, Dolph Schayes, Paul Arizin, Joe Fulks, Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Bobby Davies and Sam Jones.
Bill Fitch said he did not want his team to enter last night's game with the Pistons under the delusion that Detroit would concede the game. "They don't look like a 1-7 team to me," Fitch said. The Pistons came from 14 points down with 10 minutes to go in Houston last Saturday in order to snap their 21- game, two-year losing streak, and they did the bulk of the damage with the quintet of Kent Benson at center, Wayne Robinson and Phil Hubbard at forward and Keith Herron and Ronnie Lee at guard . . . Piston coach Scotty Robertson started the five of Benson, Terry Tyler, Herron, Tony Fuller and Lee last, bringing in John Long and Greg Kelser, each of whom missed the Houston game due to injury, off the bench. "I owed it to the guys who won that game for us to play them," explained Robertson . . . Bob Mcdoo? He is still being treated for a severely pulled stomach muscle and is not slated to be ready until approximately November 8. McAdoo is now under the care of physical therapist and kinesiologst Vlato Cerin, who is associated with Dr. Ernie Vandeweghe's Sports Medicine Clinic in Los Angeles . . . The Celtics went into last night's game with seven men averaging double figures and two more not far away . . . Bill Fitch was planning on restoring Tiny Archibald and Chris Ford to the starting lineup . . . The Celtics will end their three-week exile from the Garden tomorrow night by entertaining the Kansas City Kings in their second home game of the season.
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