1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 96, Bucks 95
April 11, 1984
The Celtics last shot was an airball by Carlos Clark with :03 left and Milwaukee got the ball back on a 24-second violation. Sidney Moncrief inbounded from midcourt, and after calling time twice (McHale was guarding Moncrief), El Cid inbounded to La
nier. Mr. Wounded Knee took it to the basket from the left side and ran into Larry Bird and DJ. The ball got away from him and the buzzer sounded.
After trailing (by as many as nine) for most of the first half, the Celtics erupted with a 9-2 surge at the close of the second quarter and led, 50-49 at intermission. Milwaukee bounced back early in the third with a 9-2 run of its own, taking a 58-52 lead on a fastbreak followup jam by Alton Lister. The resilient Celtics came back again, taking a 66-65 lead on two free throws by Cedric Maxwell. They traded baskets for a minutes, then Milwaukee's backup center Paul Mokeski scored on a fastbreak jam (no kidding) andhit three of five free throw attempst to give the Bucks a 72-68 lead.
The Meccas crowd was really getting into it, but K. C. Jones wasn't. While the bucks making their big splash, Jones had Carlos Clark and M. L. Carr manning the Celtic backcourt. A Junior Bridgeman bomb after a Clark travelling violation gave the Bucks a 76-69 lead. Clark fought back, feeding Kevin McHale for an easy basket and it was 76-71 after three. The Bucks led, 90-84 with six minutes left, but the Celtics responded with eight straight, taking a 92-90 lead with 3:19 remaining on a jumper by Robert Parish.
The Bucks needed this game. Milwaukee and Detroit are locked in a bitter duel for first place in the Central Division, and both teams have three games remaining. Milwaukee has an easy route, playing Cleveland, Chicago and Indiana. The Pistons, who trailed Milwaukee by a game before last night, still have to play the Sixers, Celtics and Hawks. Danny Ainge (sprained ankle) did not travel to Milwaukee, and Gerald Henderson (left hamstring strain) watched the game in his street clothes. Scott Wedman started in the backcourt in place of Henderson and guarded Mike Dunleavy.
The Celts appeared flatfooted at the outset. Larry Bird and Robert Parish badly missed their trademark shots and Marques Johnson blew past Cedric Maxwell for a vicious dunk. With the score tied, 13-13, Milwaukee went on an 8-1 run. First Bob Lanier scored as he was fouled by Wedman, but missed the free throw. After one free throw by Dennis Johnson (Lanier's second personal foul), Alton Lister scored on a short jumper and Dunleavy drove the length of the floor, through traffic, for a layup. Down by 19-14 with 4:21 left in the first, Celtics coach K.C. Jones called time.
After the pause, Maxwell missed a rare, 15-foot set shot, Parish traveled and Lister hit two free throws to make it 21-14. Kevin McHale replaced Bird. With 1:20 left in the quarter, Wedman picked up his third foul and was replaced by Quinn Buckner. Boston shot 39 percent (9 of 23) and trailed by 26-21 after one. The Bucks pushed their lead to 30-21 in the first minute and a half of the second quarter. With Boston trailing, 36-28, Greg Kite replaced the weary Parish (11 in the first half). McHale scored the next five points, closing the gap to 36-33 and forcing a Bucks' timeout. Bird scored after the break and it was 36-35.
Junior Bridgeman shot the Bucks back into the comfort zone, hitting two jumpers off picks and a pair of free throws. When Dunleavy buried his first three-pointer of the night, Milwaukee led, 47-39. The Celtics roared back with two free throws by DJ, a three-point play by McHale and a long turnaround by M.L. Carr. After a short baseline jumper by Marques, Bird answered with four straight. Bird's buzzer-beating bomb gave the Celtics a 50-49 halftime lead, their first since 11-9.