Celtics (18-4) vs. Kings (13-14)
Sunday, December 2
In the third consecutive game and fourth in the past fifth nights, the Celtics started strong but finished flat to lose to the Kings in Kansas City, 94-88. Losses were rare a quarter of the way into the season, and this defeat ended a six game winning streak. Only 23 games in and the Celtics had already put together winning streaks of four, six, and six to jump out to first place in the Atlantic Division (though Philadelphia was knocking on the door with a 19-7 record).
Larry Bird fought through his toughest night offensively as a pro, finishing with only 4 points on 4 attempts. As phenomenal as Bird played during his senior year at Indiana State, averaging 29 and 15 per game and leading the Sycamores to a national title game, he only played in 34 games that entire season. The NBA provided a much more grueling schedule, as the calendar just turned December and the Celtics were already playing their 23rd game of the season. Bird struggled taking care of the ball, turning it over five times, but still contributed with 14 defensive rebounds.
The Celtics were done in by a weak 16-point second quarter that allowed KC to recover from an early nine point deficit. Tiny Archibald poured in 21 points against his former team, adding five assists, and Cedric Maxwell contributed 16 and 7. M.L. Carr again showed his proficiency to score off the bench, adding 17 points in 17 minutes. In the end, even though they had more rebounds, assists, and forced the Kings into eight more turnovers, a final three weak quarters were too much to overcome for the C’s. The Kings hit as many free throws (27) as the Celtics attempted.
Cotton Fitzsimmons’ bunch had played at home on Friday and lost to the SuperSonics in OT, but came into Sunday’s game after a day off on Saturday. A crowd of less than 10,000 — 9,442 to be exact — watched the game. Future Celtic Scott Wedman led the team with 16 points, but he also struggled from the field, shooting 6-for-21. This was the first win of an eight-game winning streak for KC, and would also mark the final time of the season the Kings would be below or at .500 in the standings.
The Celtics were off Monday but returned to action on Tuesday in Motor City.