Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 81 vs. the Cavaliers

Celtics (60-20) vs. Cleveland (36-44)
March 28, 1980
Boston Garden

The Celtics wrapped up a first round bye by clinching the Atlantic Division with a 130-122 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  With the win, the Celtics reached their combined win total from the past two seasons (61) during the 1979-80 season.  Larry Bird scored 33 points for the Celtics.

Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics

The Celtics registered over 30 points in all four quarters, relying a bit more on their offense than usual with Dave Cowens missing the game after reinjuring his left big toe against the Knicks.  Cleveland had no answers for Boston’s starting five was dominant.  In addition to Bird’s 33 points and 10 rebounds, Cedric Maxwell scored 23 point and ripped down 14 boards, while Rick Robey added 25 and 13.  Tiny Archibald continued his comeback season with 21 points and 12 assists.  Another sellout (the 32nd in 41 home games) at the Garden was treated to a dozen points off the bench from Pete Maravich.  A quote from Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams, per the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan, put the Celtics season in perspective: [Read more…]

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 79 vs. the Bullets

Celtics (58-20) vs. Washington (37-41)
March 25, 1980
Capital Centre

The Celtics inched closer to a 60-win season with a one-point victory, 96-95, over the Bullets in the nation’s capital to secure the team’s 59th victory.

Larry Bird

After dropping the previous meeting with the Bullets, the Celtics exacted some revenge in the final meeting of the season for the two teams.  Pete Maravich capped off the Celtics’ victory with a fourth-chance three-pointer for the winning basket.  The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan detailed the winning sequence:

Like, wow, Pistol, did you really want to shoot a three-pointer? [Read more…]

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 78 vs. the Nets

Celtics (58-19) vs. New Jersey (32-46)
March 23, 1980
Boston Garden

Tripping over the finish line, the Celtics gave away a home game to the putrid New Jersey Nets, 101-96.  The defeat gave the Celtics a two-game losing streak, tying the longest stretch they had encountered all season.

Boston 30th sellout in 39 games stood out for the reason that no one Celtic could assume control of the scoring load.  Points were fairly well-distributed with four players in double-digits (Gerald Henderson led the team with 16 points), but the Celtics were burned again by the offensive prowess of Nets guard Mike Newlin.

Mike Newlin

Newlin dropped 52 on the C’s back in December and finished with 38 points in this long, two-hour-and-twenty-minute affair on Causeway Street.  The game felt even longer for Celtics rookie Larry Bird, who shot 1-15 from the field as his mini-slump continued.  The Boston Globe’s Walter Haynes reported on the loss: [Read more…]