Bird, McHale, & Parish Combine for 97 Points, 50 Rebounds
1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 125, Pacers 106
February 6, 1984
When the last of the hosannas have been handed out after Boston-Philly XII, or after Mayor Ray Flynn high-fives Carlos Clark at City Hall Plaza in June, few will recall a rainy day in February when the Celtics and Detroit Pistons celebrated the Dreary Season with a five-star masterpiece. It was neatly tucked away yesterday afternoon at the trainless North Station - on the eve of the Beanpot and the Sarajevo smorgasbords, hours before a Bruins-Red Wings ice dance, and a day before the Celtics embarked for that vacationland in East Rutherford, N.J.
The cold type says the Celtics defeated the Pistons, 137-134, in overtime, stretching Boston's winning streak to nine straight and lengthening its Atlantic Division lead to blowout proportions (7 1/2 games). But for those who were there, it was much more. If the Hoop God had a heart, he'd had intervened after regulation, let the opponents toast one another, and called it a draw. "I've never been in the playoffs," said Pistons center Bill Laimbeer "But from what I've seen on TV, this was playoff-type basketball." "It was a great game by both sides," added Robert Parish (a not-too-shabby 36 points and 18 rebounds). "It had the intensity of a playoff game."
The outcome wasn't decided until the closing seconds of extra innings, when Isiah Thomas' 15-footer from the left side rattled down into the basket and popped out into the hands of Kevin McHale, who was fouled at the buzzer. "I thought it was two," said Thomas. "But then (Red) Auerbach brought his ghost out to knock it back out of the basket." It was fitting that Thomas and McHale were involved in the deciding play. Detroit's Pocket Magic came through with another Cousyesque performance, scoring 36 points and adding 11 assists. Buoyed by his All-Star MVP performance last Sunday, Thomas has erased any remaining doubt that he is the league's premier point guard. In his last three games, he has scored 99 points and handed out 44 assists.
Meanwhile, McHale continues his monster role as the eggplant that ate Detroit. Yesterday, he had a career-high 33 points to go with 13 rebounds. In five games against the Pistons this year, he's shooting 64 percent (50 for 78) and averaging 28 points and 12.4 rebounds. Larry Bird overcame a 12-foor-30 shooting day to score 28 with a game-high 19 rebounds (eight offensive boards). Throw in McHale and Parish, and Boston's treetop trio accounted for 97 points and 50 rebounds. Let's see Alex English, Dan Issel and Kiki Vandeweghe try to match that.
Thomas got help from Vinnie Johnson (19 points) and Laimbeer, (16 points with 13 rebounds), while Kelly Tripucka struggled for his obligatory 20. The Celtics led, 67-64, at intermission, but fell behind, 98-94, after three. A 7-2 run by Laimbeer pushed the Pistons to a 120-114 lead with 3:42 left in regulation. Boston awoke with eight straight: a Bird lefthander in the lane, a McHale turnaround, a Parish drive, and a Bird drive past Tripucka. Thomas tied it with a pair of free throws, but McHale hit two from the line to give the Celtics a 124-122 lead with 1:09 left. Five seconds later, Isiah was scoring again off the transition.
Two free throws by M.L. Carr (a heroic 34 minutes and 11 points) made it 126-124 with 16 seconds left. Detroit called time and set up a clear-out for Thomas. He took Danny Ainge to the basket, went under the hoop and laid it in high off the glass from the other side as Bird crashed in to help out. No foul was called. Eight seconds remained. The Celtics called time. Bird's would-be game-winners were blocked by Ray Tolbert, then Laimbeer. After the buzzer, Bird buried one from 25 feet. The Celtics ripped off six straight points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of overtime. Detroit came back with four, but when Carr dunked off a give-and-go from Bird, the Celtics led, 134-130 with 1:27 left. Seven seconds later, Thomas canned another floater off a drive as he was fouled by Ainge. He made the free throw to cut Boston's lead to one.
Parish made one of two foul shots to make it 135-133. At 0:25, Thomas was fouled by Parish. He also missed one of two, but recovered by stealing the ball from Quinn Buckner. Down by one, the Pistons inbounded with 18 seconds left and wound up with Thomas taking the 15-footer from the left. McHale snatched the rebound. "I had to get it and get this think over with," said McHale. "I was getting tired out there." "Me too," added Carr. "It's not easy keeping up out there with my grandchildren."
Posted by Lex at 8:09 AM
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