It's the same old song night after night for the Boston Celtics this year--only the opponents and the scores change. The Celts showed up in the New Orleans Superdome last night and played three quarters of tough basketball before collapsing in the fourth and losing to the Jazz, 96-91.
Tied at 77-all with New Orleans entering the fourth quarter, the Celts simply ran out of their magic in the opening six minutes of that frame as the Jazz ran off 15 points to the Bostonians' four.
NBA scoring leader Pete Maravich led the scoring parade with 31 points (despite 10 minutes of shutout defense by Kevin Stacom midway through the first half), and Truck Robinson chipped in with 22 points and some mean boardwork to help the Jazz.
On the Boston side of the ledger, the burden fell on the old horses, JoJo White and Dave Cowens. White pumped in 21 points for the losers, and Cowens sank 15 while turning in 40 minutes of solo combat duty against New Orleans' tough front line.
Dave Bing added 16 for the Celts, and Cedric Maxwell 13.
The story of the game, though, was written by Maravich & Co. Pistol Pete came out smoking in the first half, and by the fourth quarter the pace set by the Jazz had the Celtics worn out.
The Celts managed a late comeback attempt scoring eight straight to close with three, at 92-89, on a Cowens three-point play with 2:34 remaining. Maravich, who scored six of his points in the closing minutes, took charge from there, though to ice the game.
New Orleans (22-24) has now won six straight games, while Boston remains wired way down in the standings at 14-28.
Hometown favorite Gil Perrault slid a shot off opposing center Phil Esposito's stick into the net to give the Prince of Wales conference a 3-2 sudden-death victory over the Campbell conference in the 31st annual National Hockey League All-Star game in Buffalo last night.
The Prince of Wales team had to overcome a two goal deficit to record its fourth straight win in All-Star competition. Bill Barber of the Philadelphia Flyers put the Campbells on top early with an unassisted goal at 1:25 of the first period, and Bobby Clarke made it 2-0 with a shot past Wale's goalie Ken Dryden early in the second period.
The Wales team got on the board in the last minute of the second period with a score by Toronto center Daryl Sittler. Buffalo wing Rick Martin tied the game with a shot off his own rebound with only 2:14 remaining in regulation.
Bill Smith, the New York Islanders' goalie who kept the Campbells in the game by blanking the Wales conference over the first 30 minutes, was named the game's most valuable player last night.