Parish and Jabbar Renew Rivalry

Game 4; Celtics 110, Lakers 95

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage

January 30, 1983

When the smoke cleared, neither Robert Parish nor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could claim a clear-cut victory after waging war in the trenches. But each had a direct bearing on the Celtics' 110-95 victory over the Lakers. When 7-foot-4 Jabbar was throwing in skyhooks in the first half, the Lakers seemed awesome even though their running game wasn't smooth. Jabbar scored 16 of his game- high 27 points in the half.

Boston, however, took the lead and ran away in the second half because Parish, who finished with 24 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, performed in ways that don't always fit neatly in the box score. "Parish didn't have a particularly good game against me today," said Jabbar. "But the thing that I think makes him an outstanding center is that he fits in so well and plays well with the people around him.

"He's very aggressive and makes you work for your shots. He ran very well, especially in the transition game, and did a good job of rebounding. Night after night, he is one of the better centers in the NBA." Parish, then, was a cog in the Celtics' offense and defense. But Jabbar, who has been throwinto the NBA in 1969 as Lew Alcindor with Milwaukee, was a mixed blessing for Los Angeles. For, once again, when what is a running club has to go inside to the big guy, it played half-court basketball.

Said Laker coach Pat Riley: "We missed a lot of easy opportunities. Seven, eight layups that we normally make. We're a running team and a finesse team; and a lot of times most of our offense is two options before we go to Kareem. They (the Celtics) did a good job. They're one of the best defensive teams in the league. It was their game, not ours."

The Parish- Jabbar rivalry was worth the price of admission. They faced each other regularly when Parish played at Golden State before coming to Boston. He called yesterday's meeting with Jabbar "seven years of flashbacks." "Kareem is still the best in the business," said Parish. "After 14 years in the NBA, he may be up in age, but when he gets it rolling, he's still unstoppable. The only thing you can do is push him farther out on the floor each time and hope he misses. You make a mistake and he gets position, and he's awesome.

"He really had a good game going early and was running, too, which surprised me, because I was helping out on the rebounds. I had to stop helping out so much and, fortunately, we got more pressure from our guards that helped take them out of their game. Kareem began to miss some of those hook shots, and that helped," added Parish.

At halftime, Jabbar had only one rebound and Parish had eight. Kurt Rambis (seven rebounds) had taken up the slack inside for Los Angeles. A 12-4 blitz in the final 3:40 of the first half accounted for the 60-50 Celtic lead. "They pressured everybody," said Jabbar. "We weren't getting any cuts to the lane. We flew all day to get here after playing Friday in LA. But we can't dwell on that. They played well and they won."

The Celtics, in fact, won in a breeze. In the second half, Parish was a tower of strength in the middle, while the Lakers stumbled and eventually fell behind by as much as 24 points in the third quarter. Boston's aggressive defense, particularly in the passing lanes, not only halted the Lakers' running game but rendered Jabbar's devastating hook ineffective.

"We did a good job of running in the second half," said Parish. "And against Los Angeles, you have to control the boards, because if you don't, they'll run right past you. While it's true we play them only twice, it's good that we won today. We play them again in two weeks, and we definitely wanted to leave them with an impression."

Parish broke into a big smile when it was suggested that his performance yesterday proved he had, at last, become the best center in the NBA. "A lot of people think I'm the No. 1 center. But that depends mainly on who is doing the choosing. Remember, there's a fellow name Moses Malone who also has to be considered," said Parish.

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