December 13, 1979
Whenever Chris Ford's phenomenal three-point-shooting string ends, one thing is certain: He may have set a record that will stand for a very, very long time. Entering last night's game, the Celtic guard had connected on at least one three-pointer in his previous 10 games, a span in which he had shot 19 for 32 from beyond the extra-point arc. The odd thing is that prior to this binge, he had made infrequent use of the maneuver. In only one of his first 18 games did he make more than one three-pointer, that being a game in New York when he shot 2 for 3. After making NBA history of sorts by becoming the first player in league history to sink a three-pointer (in the first period of the opener back on Oct. 12), he didn't make another until that night in New York, misfiring on his next eight attempts.
The three-pointers either have directly won or definitely altered the course of at least four Celtic games, which is ironic considering Red Auerbach's opposition to the rule. But what can safely be said is that making a three-pointer in as many as 10 consecutive games will be a difficult record to break. Larry Bird certainly has come bouncing back nicely from that four-game, 18-for-59 shooting dip. In his last four games, Bird has shot 52 percent (41 for 79) while scoring 19 points a game. In addition, the all-around games he played against Phoenix and Milwaukee drew the praise of opponents for their fundamental soundness. The big thing recently, however, has been his forcefulness on offense when the occasion merits. He had been reluctant to shoot while in tht shooting slump. Against Milwaukee, he moved well and always seemed to make the right shoot-pass decision, finishing with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and many clutch plays.
Despite having been belted, 122-85, by Atlanta in their most recent game, the New Jersey Nets had won four of their last six games and were playing much better basketball than earlier in the season. Mike Newlin has found his shooting eye, thereby bringing an end to the trade talk that was raging two weeks ago ... Jersey won't be here again until Sunday, March 30 ... The Celtics report that better-than-average tickets are available to the single- game customer for the San Antonio game of Dec.21 because that game is not included in the half-season ticket plan ... Gerald Henderson had scored but four points (2-16) since looking very sharp against Denver back on Nov. 28. He and Jeff Judkins each logged their first DNPs of the season in Milwaukee as Bill Fitch employed Tiny Archibald for 48 minutes, the little guy's first route-going effort in over six years.