Larry Bird scored 32 points, Dennis Johnson 26 and Kevin McHale 24, and the Boston Celtics rolled another big early lead to a playoff victory last night at the Boston Garden, routing the Milwaukee Bucks. 125-110, for a 2-0 lead in the showdown for the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference championship.
Seeking to avenge a four-game sweep by Milwaukee in last year's conference semi-finals, the Celtics poured it on for their eighth consecutive home victory in the playoffs this spring.
In winning their last five games at home, they have finished with margins of 18, 14.22. 17.23 and 15 points.
Milwaukee, trounced 119-96 in the series opener Tuesday night, never led as Boston opened a 6-0 lead and ended the first quarter in front 32-21.
The Celtics outscored Milwaukee, 35-27, in the second period for a 67-48 halftime lead. Then they widened the margin to 24 pointy in the opening minutes of the third period, and the Bucks could get no closer then 12 points the rest of the way.
Bird, who also had 13 rebounds, and McHale did their usual thing. but Johnson shocked the Bucks with his scoring touch. The veteran guard also chipped in with one steal, three rebounds and four assists.
As in their four home victories in a seven game semifinal series with the New York Knicks, the Celtics jumped but quickly to a whopping lead.
Ahead 20-17 with 3:20 left in the first period, Boston went on a 12-4 spree, with the Bucks failing to get another field goal before the quarter ended. Bird made it 22-17 before McHale scored the Celtics' next 10 points for the 32-31 lead.
The Celtics scored the first seven points of the second period to extend their lead to 18 points, 39-21. It was fun time for Boston the rest of the way.
Boston also featured a tough defense in rolling up the tremendous first period lead. In the opening period, the Celtics hit on 10 of 20 field goal attempts while the harassed Bucks connected on only 6 of 25.
In the second period, Boston was 14 of 23 from the floor, Milwaukee 12 of 27, Marques Johnson led the Bucks with 29 points. Sidney Moncreif had 22, and Junior Bridgeman 17.
The series moves to Milwaukee for the third and fourth games Saturday afternoon and Monday night.