Big Win Boosts Confidence

1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 105, Sixers 104
Record 29-8

January 14, 1984

The missing piece fell into place Friday night in Philadelphia.

The 1983-84 Great Expectation Celtics had done everything except beat the Sixers. They won a league-high nine in a row early in the year, recovered from a four-game losing streak in November, then ripped off 19 out of 22. They clinched the All-Star coaching job for beloved coach K.C. Jones, and managed to build a small but tidy division lead over the hated world champs from Cheese Steak City.

Still, it wasn't enough. They couldn't shake the memory of two close losses to Philadelphia. The Celtics dropped a 92-91 decision to the Sixers in November and blew a fourth-quarter lead against Philly in the Garden that led to an unsettling overtime loss. The manner in which Boston lost those two games created nagging doubts within the Celtic fandom. No more. The Celtics buried the burden in the Spectrum Friday night with a 105-104 crunch-time victory. This time, it was the Sixers who folded down the stretch. Boston's tight defense held the Sixers to 17 points on 30-percent shooting in the fourth quarter.

"We got into their confidence a little bit," said center Robert Parish. As a result, Boston can go about the business of maintaining its Atlantic Division lead and tuning up for April without the ugly refrain of "Yeah, but you can't beat Philadelphia" following them from Seattle's Kingdome to Atlanta's Omni. Jones says, "Nothing has been reached yet, but something has been sustained." Nothing more can be asked of this team . . . until playoff time.

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