3.25.2016

C's Clinch Best Record in NBA



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 113, Cavs 94

Record 58-19

April 7, 1984


Cover your mouth when you yawn, fellas. The Celtics beat Cleveland, 113-94, last night before a Garden sellout crowd to clinch the NBA's best record (58-19). Robert Parish was asked what it meant. "About $10,000, for one thing," he said. "It was one of our goals, and we achieved it. Now we're going on to bigger and better things." "Our ultimate goal is the championship, and everyone in this room knows it," said Gerald Henderson. "There's no champagne in this locker room." That's great, but couldn't they have had a Lowenbrau?



"We've done it so many times with this team, it doesn't have as much as significance as it used to," said Cedric Maxwell. "And it really doesn't put us in an easier bracket for the playoffs." What it does is allow coach K.C. Jones to rest his front line for an expected first round with the Bullets. It also means the subs will play earlier and more Sunday against Chicago than they did last night against Cleveland. "We definitely should have won by a bigger margin," said Larry Bird (33 points).

After Dennis Johnson scored six of Boston's first 12, Bird began an 11-of- 13 streak at the end of the 28-28 first quarter. When his 8-of-8 second period run was finished, the Celtics led, 51-36. When the period was finished, Bird had scored 19 points, as many as Cleveland. "You could tell he was hot by the way he had to keep blowing on his fingers," Jones said. "We're shooting the ball real well right now," Bird said. True, the Celtics shot .605 in the half, .593 for the game, but Bird was hitting everything, including five 18-or-more-footers, one of which was a 20- foot fallaway over Lonnie Shelton, whom Bird abused for most of his first- half 25 points (12 of 15).

Cleveland's frontcourt was only 10 of 26 in the first half, and that after a decent first quarter. The Cavaliers were getting inside, but everything was glass and rim. When Bird ended the half with a halfcourt bomb off the front rim (it was after the buzzer, anyway), Cleveland trailed, 58-47. But the Celtics refused to put the game away. They turned it over 20 times and let Cliff Robinson (18) hit a few jumpers to bring the Cavaliers within nine once and 11 twice in the third quarter. Henderson became Boston's second backcourt casualty, limping off with his bad hamstring at 5:27 in the third (Danny Ainge had sprained his ankle in the second). "And then Larry was getting so tired shooting, we had to give him a rest," said Jones.

No matter. "I've said all year our bench has been the difference between us and other teams," Maxwell said. What a difference. The Cavaliers have no center and no real inside game. And Max, Bird, Kevin McHale and Parish (15 points, 14 rebounds) each played at least 29 minutes. Boston outrebounded the Cavaliers, 47-39. Cleveland's last chance followed a 6-0 run, set up by former Boston College player John Garris' tip and layin. The Cavaliers called timeout when Geoff Huston drove for a possible three-pointer to make it 96-86, but when they came back, Huston missed the free throw.

McHale and Parish took the Celtics on a 7-0 run for 103-86 at 3:57. Greg Kite and Carlos Clark came in with 2:34 left. "We played so-so," said Jones, who wasn't very concerned. "I told the guys before the game that I'd like to end things tonight as far as the best-overall record is concerned. We're still going to go out there to win, but we have to get other people ready, especially Scotty (Wedman), M.L. (Carr) and Danny (Ainge), when the ankle is ready."

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