Charles Barkley scored 28 points and stopped Larry Bird when it counted to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 106-104 overtime win over the Boston Celtics Sunday at Philadelphia.
Boston scored the first five points in overtime to take a 104-99 lead, but Philadelphia rallied to go ahead, 105-104, with 1:19 remaining on a tip-in by Barkley.
After a free throw by Roy Hinson increased the lead to 106-104, the Celtics worked for the last shot, but Bird, bothered by Barkley, threw up a one-handed shot from the baseline that missed badly with one second left.
"I thought we had a chance to win at the end," Bird said. "I was looking for a three-pointer but I couldn't get off a real good shot."
It was one of the few times Barkley, who guarded Bird one-on-one for most of the game, was able to stop the Celtic forward. Bird finished with 39 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, but his fifth triple double of the season wasn't enough as Boston's road record fell to 19-19.
"It's been tough winning on the road," Bird said. "I don't think we're concentrating enough."
Barkley had 18 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals to go with his points as the 76ers out-rebounded the Celtics, 47-34.
Philadelphia (42-33) led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Celtics were able to pull within 5 at halftime, trailing 62-57. Bird had 22 points in the first half, while Cliff Robinson had 18 off the bench and Barkley had 10 to lead the 76ers.
"I was really disappointed at halftime because he kind of dominated me," Barkley said. "It was so bad it fouled up my offense."
"Besides Bird's great first half, Charles played him as tough as you can, especially when he was looking for that last shot," Philadelphia Coach Matt Goukas said.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics reeled off 11 straight points to take a 94-90 lead with 3:53 left in regulation. The 76ers rallied to take a 97-96 lead on a tip-in by Tim McCormick, but a three-point play by Bird gave the Celtics a 99-97 lead with 1:06 remaining.
Barkley tied the game at 99-99 with two free throws with 56 seconds left in regulation and neither team could score after that to send the game into overtime.
Kevin McHale added 29 for the Celtics, while Robinson finished with 22. The win gave the 76ers a split of the six-game season series with the Celtics in their final regular-season meeting.