Celtics Finally Beat Sixers

1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 105, Sixers 104

Record 29-8
January 14, 1984


It was one more jewel in the NBA junkyard, another 48 minutes of conventional land warfare between the Hatfields and McCoys of Basketball America. It seems that these two teams could play for 58, 68, or 108 minutes, and move the site to an aircraft carrier off Guam, and it would still be settled by one point or in overtime. The Celtics were the one-point winners last night. When Cedric Maxwell outdueled Moses Malone for a rebound of Julius Erving's errant 14-foot turnaround banker, the final buzzer sounded and the Celtics had a 105-104 roadhouse victory over the world champion Philadelphia 76ers.

Call it "Having It All," NBA-style. The Celtics have won six straight, 10 of 11 and own a 3 1/2 -game lead over Philadelphia, but it wouldn't mean much without at least one conquest of the Sixers, who beat Boston in two squeakers earlier in the season. Larry Bird (29 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists) summed it up, saying, "It was a true Celtic-76er game." It was also one of those games that the Celtics have frequently dropped to the Sixers. "The best thing about it is that we executed well when we needed to," noted Kevin McHale, who hit nine of 13 shots and scored 20 before fouling out with 44 seconds left.

The Celtics trailed most of the way. Despite a dogged defensive effort by Dennis Johnson, Andrew Toney had 17 of his 28 in the first half and the Sixers led by as many as 10 (43-33) before settling for a 61-55 haltime lead. Bird (18 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists in an unforgettable half) was the man who kept the Celtics in it for those first 24 minutes. The Celtics got their inside game going after intermission and tied it (70-70) on a free throw by Parish (21 points, 15 rebunds) miday through thie third. The Sixers wouldn't let the Celtics get ahead, however, and stretched a five-point lead after three to a seven-point spread early in the final quarter.

Parish (10 in the fourth) and McHale (nine in the fourth) shot the Celtics back to within one and with 5:45 left, Bird buried a jumper from the top of the key to give the C's their first lead (97-96) since 25-23. The 10 best players were on the court, and like tired boxers, they staggered through the final five minutes. "No shot was uncontested," said Bird. "You had to earn everything out there." It was 101-101 with 2:57 left. Then Parish beat Malone (18 points, 14 rebounds) down the floor and scored on a jam to make it 103-101. Fifty seconds later, Maurice Cheeks stripped the ball from McHale and went down the floor for a breakaway layup to tie it at 103.

The next scoring came when Erving hit the first of two free thros with 44 seconds left to make it 104-103. Parish rebounded Doc's secnd shot and the Celtics went to work on offense. Parish missed a hook, and Bird grabbed his seventh offensive rebound. Bird's followup was no good, but in the scramble for the rebound, Toney was tagged with a foul. Parish went to the line and sank both to make it 105-104 with 18 second left.

"I didn't even watch Robert take those free throws," said Bird. "As bad as he wanted to win this game, I knew he'd make em. I was already thinking about defense." The Sixers called time and elected to inbound at the far end. "I thought Toney would take the shot and we were prepared to double-team him," said Celtic coach K. C. Jones. "We wanted to take it up the floor, fullcourt," said Erving (22 points). "When I got the ball, it was my option to take the shot or drive to give it back to Andrew. I just tried to stay in my rythum and shoot the bank. I just shot it too strong." The rebound caromed off to the right and after much jousting, Maxwell (who had come in when McHale fouled out) emerged with the ball and the game.

"It came off on my side and me and Moses and Larry and Parish battled for it. I grabbed it, then Moses tapped it, then somebody hit my hand and finally I got it back." "There were a lot of bodies flying at that moment," added Parish. It was Boston's first victory in the Spectrum since the sixth game of the 1982 Eastern Conference final, and marked the competitive and emotional pinnacle of a 29-8 half-season.

No comments:

Follow by Email