Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.
Celtics (4-1) vs. Spurs (2-2)
Tuesday, October 23
The San Antonio Spurs, another hold-over from the ABA, transitioned more much successfully to the NBA than the Pacers. A year removed from a 48-34 record and trip to the Eastern Conference Finals (they wouldn’t move to the West until 1982), the Spurs featured the explosive George Gervin, who averaged an incredible 33.1 points that season.
Gervin fell just below his average, finishing with 28 points.
Larry Kenon also had a very productive with 28 points and 10 boards. Mark Olberding, a 6’8″ forward out of the University of Minnesota, contributed a career-high with 10 assists and added 19 points. Though still in the infancy stages of the season, the Celtics’ glaring inability to stop dominant post players was beginning to become a serious issue (an issue that would be resolved in the off-season). Six Celtics scored in double figures, but the C’s still allowed a 40-point first quarter and were outscored by San Antonio in each of the four frames.
Though interior defense was rearing its head as an issue, the soon-to-be 31 year old Dave Cowens (date of birth: 10/25/48) had a fantastic night with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Larry Bird’s development continued to flourish, adding 22 points and hitting two of his three 3-points. Along with 12 rebounds and 6 assists, Bird fell just shy of notching his first triple double. M.L. Carr, though criticized for coming into camp out shape, played with an edge for the C’s, adding 16 points off 7-of-13 shooting.
With the loss, the Celtics dropped to 0-2 on this six-game road trip. The C’s, who would never drop more than two in a row all season, returned to action the very night next in Houston.