Celtics Waste McHale's 25-Point Effort Off the Bench

Boston Celtics Kevin McHale

May 27, 1984

Bird had 24 points, one less than Kevin McHale, the Celtics' top scorer, but they came on 7-for-17 shooting. Bird had only two field goals in the first half; the Lakers shot 72 percent in the first quarter and 57 percent for the half.

Bird was at his best in the closing minutes of the third period, when he scored the Celtics' last 7 points that stirred hopes of a comeback

"In the first quarter," Jones said, "we couldn't hit from the outside at all, and in the second half we missed some key free throws and had no success with Larry Bird down low. They are going to make our guard hit from the outside. We tried to do the same thing to them, but Magic hit from the outside and fed Kareem. About the only thing I liked was the way we came back in the third period. It showed some determination."

"In the third quarter," said Dennis Johnson, the Celtic guard who scored 13 of his 23 points in the second half, "we began to do the things to them that they did to us in the third quarter. We rebounded, we played better defense and I penetrated more."

Strange Matchups There was some strange and unexpected matchups. Instead of the 6-foot-4-inch Dennis Johnson playing Magic Johnson, 6-9, as had been expected, Gerald Henderson, 6-2, was matched against him for a good part of the game. "Magic is our orchestra leader," Coach Pat Riley said. "He's not the guy that plays the tuba. We don't use him a lot in our offense, and we didn't try to take advantage of the mismatch by posting Magic down low against Henderson. . . . Riley also started James Worthy, 6-9, who scored 20 points at small forward and played defensively at big guard, matched against Dennis Johnson. "What we wanted to do was start Michael Cooper on Bird. He has played very well against him, and there is mutual respect there. It also allowed Worthy and Magic to play guard and crash the boards. It really set up our running game."

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