Celtics Big Three Outscore Pistons Frontline 74-18, Outrebound them 38-11

Celtics Big Three Outscore Pistons Frontline 74-18, Outrebound them 38-11

April 29, 1985

After the Boston Celtics had struggled to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, their real front line reappeared today and helped overwhelm the Detroit Pistons, 133-99, at Boston Garden.

The victory, one of the Celtics' easiest of the season, gave them a 1-0 advantage in the four-of-seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series. The second game is here Tuesday night.

The front line of Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird outscored Kelly Tripucka, Dan Roundfield and Bill Laimbeer by 74-18, and outrebounded them, 38-11. Adding 16 points by Cedric Maxwell, a forward who is recuperating from knee surgery, the Celtic foursome scored only 9 points less than the entire Detroit team.

Before the game, Coach Chuck Daly of Detroit predicted that Boston would try to ''pound us inside.'' Afterward, he said: ''I'm afraid I was right. When you get into the playoffs, you have to ready. We were out of synch. We have to play our game and we didn't do that.''

Then, grabbing the statistic sheet, he added: ''The name of the game is rebounding. They outrebounded us, 59-33 - 24-18 off the offensive boards. This is the best I've seen them play in a long time, maybe the entire season.''

Laimbeer, the 6-foot-11-inch all-star center who averaged 14.7 points and 12.4 rebounds in the regular season, had 1 point and 5 rebounds.

''Basically, they did nothing different than they did during the regular season,'' he said. ''We just played bad, and you can't do that against the Celtics when they're front is on.''

In the Pistons' dressing room before the game, Roundfield said: ''The guy we have to stop is McHale. He hit us with 56 earlier in the season. Once he gets into the paint, he's unstoppable.''

McHale had 26 points and 13 rebounds, but the one who hurt the Pistons most was Parish, who had 27 points and 16 rebounds. Bird added 21 points.

After Parish had scored 13 points in the opening quarter against Laimbeer, Daly put Earl Cureton on the 7-1 center. He, too, failed. Parish had 20 points at halftime. Running out of size, Daly in desperation tried matching Roundfield against Parish. That did not work, either. ''There is not a lot we can change,'' said Daly. ''We tried fronting them, playing behind them and about everything else possible, but nothing seemed to work. I think Laimbeer was struggling. He had an off day.''

Roundfield said: ''Their game is basically to run, and ours is to pop from the outside. Any inside game we have they took away from us. They just shut down the middle. They're game was a lot better than ours, and now we have to look for game two.''

The Pistons got off well, and during the opening four minutes it appeared that the Celtics were in for a struggle similar to the ones they got from Cleveland in a surprisingly close series. Isiah Thomas and John Long, the hot-shooting guards, helped Detroit gain a 10-3 advantage.

But after a timeout, the Celtics came back looking like a different team.

''We were just too impatient at first,'' said Coach K. C. Jones. ''We were so keyed up and overanxious that we just threw the ball up. I told them to show some patience.''

They heeded his advice. Bird hit two outside jumpers. and the inside game started to click. Poked in the Eye Thomas appeared upset after the game, not about the loss, but about his puffed left eye. ''Someone poke you?'' he was asked. ''I don't think it was a poke,'' he replied. ''I think he was seriously trying to take my eye out.'' The one who poked him was Bird, but Thomas would not say so. . . . With the Celtics winning so easily, Jones was able to rest Bird, who has a sore right elbow. He sat out the entire fourth quarter. . . . This is the first Celtic-Piston playoff meeting since the 1967-68 season. . . . The Pistons suffered their first loss in nine games. They won the last five games of the regular season and swept the Nets in three in the opening round.

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