FEBRUARY 16, 1986
The short answer is "you don't." When you've played 16 minutes of basketball and managed to score 11 points, grab 8 rebounds and block 7 shots against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, let's just say you've earned your keep. But we'll get to Bill Walton in a minute.
First, let's take a peek at what some of his teammates accomplished. Rick Carlisle may not have had a long and storied career in Beantown, but it's safe to say that if his short stint with the Celtics ever reached a pinnacle, it was against the Los Angeles Lakers on this date. Coming off the bench as the fourth guard (none of which were "traditional point guards" I might add), Carlisle played 11 minutes and scored 10 points on 5-7 shooting (extrapolate those numbers over 48 minutes). Note that #34 was 0-1 from range. This doesn't quite tell the whole story. He actually nailed a three ball from the corner, but since his feet are too large to fit in the space alloted, they called it a two. Now it's my humble opinion that if the court isn't big enough to accommodate someone's footsize the entire way around the arc, they ought to count his corner shots as 3s even when his feet are on the line.
Next let's move on to #33. Larry Bird didn't always perform at his peak against the Ls. Blame it on his elbow injuries, Michael Cooper, whatever. There is a video somewhere on this blog where Red Auerbach gently chides Larry for his sub-par performances against the Ls during the 1984 Finals. Larry eventually stepped it up in that series, and it is safe to say, having posted 22 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 assists in 43 minutes against the Purple in game 2 of the 1986 regular season series, Larry figured out a way to get the job done again.
Which brings us to #5. Note that KC Jones played him 26 minutes this time. Ya think that had anything to do with his world-class performance in game 1? If a little bit of Bill Walton yielded 11, 8, and 7, I can't wait to see what a lot of Bill Walton produces. Still, Bill Walton didn't take off the night. He scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and added 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. If there was any doubt who was bringing home the Sixth Man hardware after game 1, Walton eliminated it in game 2.
Again, this box score goes a long way toward showing how much of a difference the bench can make in just a little bit of time.