Before Employee #8, there was Scotty Wedman
May 31, 1984
Scott Wedman, who has been languishing on the Celtic bench, hit a 13-foot jumper with 14 seconds remaining in overtime tonight that enabled Boston to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 124-121, in the Boston Garden.
Wedman, who played 18 minutes because his team needed more outside shooting, was sent in with 2 minutes 47 seconds remaining in the 5-minute extra session when Coach K. C. Jones decided to play him on offense and Cedric Maxwell on defense.
Wedman replaced Maxwell for a third time 11 seconds before his basket enabled the Celtics to regain a 1-point lead. Bob McAdoo had just given Los Angeles 121-120 lead with his 11-foot baseline jumper off Earvin (Magic) Johnson's ninth assist.
But before the Celtics were to clinch the victory and tie the championship series at 1-1, there were two key steals within 6 seconds by Robert Parish, Boston's 7-foot center.
With 11 seconds left, Parish stole a pass that Jamaal Wilkes tried to get inside to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers' overpowering center. But Maxwell made a bad pass that went off Larry Bird's foot to give the Lakers still another chance. This time, Parish stripped McAdoo of the ball as he was driving to the basket. Bird was then fouled and hit the last 2 points.
Bird led the Celtics with 27 points, shooting a poor 8-for-22 from the field.
The four-of-seven series for the National Basketball Association championship now shifts to Inglewood, Calif., for the third and fourth games Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night.
Jones said that Wedman was the second option on the decisive play. The play was really designed for Bird.
"I sent Scott into the game because I wanted another outside shooter," Jones said. "It was better to have two outside shooters at the time. One would have made them think the ball was going inside to Parish. We wanted them to do some thinking."
Wedman, who had 10 points, said: "That's one of the things I do best, shoot from the outside. After Dennis Johnson fouled out, I got the opportunity. Every guy likes to step in when the game is on the line, and I'm no different. I scored off a double pick, with Larry on one side and myself on the other."
It appeared there would be no need for an overtime after Earvin (Magic) Johnson gave the Lakers a 113-111 advantage with 35 seconds remaining. He had hit a pair of free throws after a foul by Dennis Johnson.
Fifteen seconds later, the Celtic cause became even more precarious when Kevin Mchale was fouled, but missed two both free throws. The Lakers grabbed the rebound and took a timeout.
Then came the play that resurrected the Celtics. It was a steal by Gerald Henderson, the Celtic backcourt man, who stole a cross-court pass from James Worthy intended for Byron Scott and scored on a lay-in to tie the game at 113-113 with 15 seconds left. Two seconds later, the Lakers called a timeout to map a final play, which was to get the ball insied to Abdul-Jabbar.
The Lakers took the ball out at halfcourt, but Johnson spent much of the final seconds dribbling the ball without getting off a shot. Johnson finally passed to McAdoo, whose desperation shot came after the clock ran out.
Coach Pat Riley of the Lakers defended Johnson on the play.
"It was a chaotic situation at the time," Riley said. "The place was bedlam at the time and it difficult for Magic to see the clock. It was in back of him."
Johnson said of the play: "We wanted to run the clock down to six or seven seconds. The second I time I lookked back, I knew I had to get the ball into Kareem. But Parish had good position and I didn't want to force and take a chance on the steal. By the time I went the second option, McAdoo, the clock had run out."
Unlike the first game, which the Lakers dominated from the start, the Celtics rushed to a 33-20 lead before the Lakers began their comeback. Aided by what Jones said "made the celtics turnover champions," Los Angeles closed out the first half with a 13-2 spurt that cut Boston's lead to, 61- 59, at the half. The game was close from then on, with Boston ahead, 90- 87, going into the see-saw last quarter. The team that wins the championship will receive $300,000 and the losing team $200,000. The Celtics have already won $205,000 and the Lakers $155,000. The difference is that Boston earned $50,000 for having the best regular-season record. . . . This was the Celtics' 168th straight sellout at Boston Garden. Sunday's game will be the Lakers' first sellout (17,505) in nine playoff games.
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