C's Make 22 out of 23 behind Bird's Triple Double
CELTICS POST 22ND WIN IN 23 GAMES
M.L. Carr returned to the Celtics' lineup for the first time after 41 games on the sidelines and helped them to an easy 117-87 victory over the Utah Jazz last night before a sellout of l5,320 at the Garden.
Larry Bird led the way with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The 30-point victory margin was the widest of the year for the Celtics.
The win was Boston's 10th in a row and 22d in its last 23 games. The Celts also have held their last four foes to less than 100 points.
Carr, who was out since October with a fractured metatarsal on his left foot, was activated before the game - rookie Wayne Kreklow being put on waivers to make roster room.
Carr entered the game with 4:55 left in the third quarter, the Celtics ahead, 76-57, and received a 45-second standing ovation. First time down the court he missed a running hook in the lane, but with 3:42 to go he took a Bird feed and hit a 10-footer off the backboard for an 80-61 Boston lead.
At the end of the quarter Carr popped a 20-footer to give the Celtics an 86-69 lead.
His defensive assignment switched from Allan Bristow to Adrian Dantley in the fourth quarter. Dantley, a 31-point scorer, went for an 8-footer over Carr, but could not break free for another basket. Carr finally left the game with 2:09 remaining, puffing a bit, with 8 points.
The appearance of Carr was the only interesting aspect to a routine victory for the Celtics. Most of the fourth quarter was garbage time, with Gerald Henderson, Terry Duerod and Eric Fernsten piling up Boston's advantage.
Carr was on the bench in the first half as the Celtics raced to a 62-48 lead.
The bulk of that margin came from an 11-0 burst midway through the first quarter, carrying the Celtics from a 16-14 deficit into a 27-16 lead.
In this 11-point stretch Bird put in a short lefthander, Chris Ford fed Cedric Maxwell for a one-footer, Max followed with a tip-in, Bird hit two jumpers, and Robert Parish electrified the crowd with a steal, a full-court breakaway and a stuff.
Perhaps the most incredible development of the first half occurred in the Celtics' defensive end, where Ford shut out Utah's rookie sensation Darrell Griffith. Ford pressured the frustrated Griffith, who brought a 20-point average into the game, into several off-balance shots and a couple of turnovers.
Parish was too much to handle for the Jazz' rookie center Jeff Wilkins, who came up with three quick fouls and gave way to Wayne Cooper, a second-year man from New Orleans. Parish had 11 points in the first quarter, including a 20-footer at the buzzer giving the Celtics a 35-24 lead.
Former Celtic Jeff Judkins made his first Garden appearance this season with 3:15 left in the first quarter, and a minute later fed Ben Poquette under the basket. Judkins, averaging about 10 minutes and 4.4 points a game, leads the Jazz in three-point accuracy.
Utah never threatened to make a move at the Celtics in the second quarter but somehow kept the margin from widening. Cooper and Poquette hit a couple of jumpers, and rookie guard John Duren from Georgetown hit a couple.
Maxwell and Kevin McHale were duplicating Ford's defensive job on Dantley, holding him to four points in the second quarter.
The Celtics pulled to a 17-point lead, 59-42, on two inside baskets by Robey and a Henderson jumper.
But two Duren jumpers and an Allan Bristow bucket cut the lead to 59-48. McHale's 10-footer and Tiny Archibald's back-door bucket off Bird's feed brought it to 62-48 at halftime.
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