Isn't 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and 7 assists per game one of the coolest statlines for an NBA playoff series ever?
A quote from Larry Bird's book "Drive" comes real handy at this point: "One thing I've learned about playing against Moses is that it really makes you want to concentrate on your own rebounding. I was young then and still figuring out what was going on and I know this is the first time I really started thinking about the necessity of rebounding in the playoffs. Even in 1988, when I shot 35 percent against Detroit, I was the leading rebounder in the series [Bird averaged 12.2 rpg in that series - LamarMatic]. No matter what else is happening, I always get into a rebounding mood in the playoffs."
And that's oh so true, whether you judge this quote by his whole career (Bird had some killer rebounding series) or by this specific series. Back then, a sophomore Bird wasn't yet the scorer he became later on. You can also give credence to the narrative that Robert Reid shut him down, although I personally, having just watched the whole series, think that his shot wasn't simply falling in games 3, 4 and 5. But either way it's a beautiful Larry Bird series. He truly went after rebounds like a madman, something I tried to display with all of the plays of him crashing the glass that I included. He dished out god knows how many outlet passes after said rebounds and thus pushed the pace in Boston's favor, sometimes even going a bit over board with it (Houston preferred a slow-it-down type of game since Moses going to work in the half-court was their main advantage). He worked as a creator in Boston's offense and found guys for wide open shots. And when it counted the most, he made clutch shots to slow down Houston's comeback and clinch the series in Game 6.
I'm sorry, Cedric Maxwell. You had a great Finals series. But this seems like a case of 80s sports journalism not being advanced enough to appreciate Bird's performance in this series. In my opinion, Bird, without a doubt, was the Finals MVP in 1981.
*The version of Game 6 that I have is lacking in quality. Thus there are some glitches and, unfortunately, I had to take Larry's legendary three from a recent highlight reel produced by NBA TV.
(Bird, Larry. 1989. Drive: The Story of My Life. New York: Bantam Books. p. – 102.)
4 лет назад