Celts Do It in O.T.
They say that the good teams win the close ones and last night the Boston Celtics, who have been anything but a good team this year, won their second game in a row in a tense, nail-biting fashion, a 103-100 overtime dispatching of the Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Garden.
Ultimately two free throws by rejuvenated guard Kevin Stacom with 1:31 left in overtime gave the Celts the breathing room needed for the victory. After a Kareen Abdul-Jabbar dunk with five seconds remaining, Sidney Wicks hit two foul shots to round out the final score.
It was super close all the way through, as Boston led by one at the end of the first quarter (23-22), and five at the half (50-45) before the Lakers rallied to tie the contest at the end of three, 71-71, and at the close of regulation play, 92-92.
Only six players saw the floor for the Celts, but five of them hit for double figures, most notably Stacom, whose 19 tallies marked a career high in the NBA for the former Providence star.
Dave Bing, who was supposedly finished with basketball after last season, but has come on to be the steadiest performer in this unsteady season, led the Celtics in scoring with 25 points and quarterbacked Boston 'til nobody was crying at the absence of Jo Jo White.
Wicks walked in Bing's steady footsteps with yet another in his recent rash of invigorating efforts. Wicks, who saw mucho minutes due to the absence of injured Curtis Rowe and Tom Boswell's fouling out, poured in 16 points and added a decisive three-point play half-way through the O.T. to put the Celtics ahead to stay at 99-98.
In addition, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens chipped in with 16 and 17 points respectively. Abdul-Jabbar led all scorers as usual with 30 points.
The newest Celtic, Ernie DiGregorio, wasted one day off his recently-negotiated ten-day contract, as he sat on the sidelines watching Boston raise its record to 16-30.
Off the court, the Celts' management juggled the team's roster yesterday, trading forward Fred Saunders to the New Orleans Jazz and signing free agent guard Ernie DiGregorio to a ten-day contract after league commissioner Lawrence O'Brien announced that Celtic forward Kermit Washington's suspension would be lifted February 10.
DiGregorio cleared waivers yesterday after the Los Angeles Lakers released him Monday, and the six-foot guard suited up for last night's contest against his old teammates.
"Ernie D" will be given what amounts to a ten-game tryout with the floundering 16-30 Celtics, as ailing starter Jo Jo White rests his injured left heel.
O'Brien had suspended Washington--then with the Lakers--for 60 days on December 12 after Washington seriously injured the Houston Rockets' Rudy Tomjanovich in a December 9 game. Tomjanovich, who sustained a broken jaw, broken nose, fractured skull and a concussion in the incident, will miss at least the rest of the season.
Bruins Win, 5-3