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NBA ROUNDUP : Celtics Run Knicks Out of Town, 157-128

April 29, 1990|DAN HAFNER

The Over-The-Hill-Gang is alive and well. It is masquerading as the Boston Celtics.

Professional basketball is supposed to be a sport for the young, but the Celtics don't buy it.

Because they have four of the oldest players in the NBA in their starting lineup, the Celtics weren't given much of a chance in the playoffs.

But Larry Bird and his buddies are two-thirds of the way to the second round of postseason play and a probable shot at the defending champion Detroit Pistons.

The Celtics, outrunning the younger New York Knicks from the start, set two NBA playoff records in defeating them, 157-128, Saturday at Boston.

The Celtics, who took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with their second impressive performance, set records for most points and shooting percentage.

They shot 67% from the field to break the 66.3% the Lakers shot against San Antonio in 1986. The old point mark, 156, was set by Milwaukee against Philadelphia in 1970.

Bird (33 and in his 11th year), Robert Parish (36 and 15th), Kevin McHale (32 and 10) and Dennis Johnson (35 and 14) all had big games, but it was the youngster in the lineup who started the rout. Reggie Lewis, who became a solid player when Bird missed almost all of last season, is 25 and in his third season.

He scored eight points in a 21-9 Celtic spurt in the first four minutes. The Knicks, despite the efforts of Patrick Ewing and the work of Charles Oakley and Johnny Newman off the bench, never could get even. They have lost 26 consecutive games at Boston Garden.

Parish, in addition to playing strong defense against Ewing, had 18 points and 16 rebounds. McHale, 12 for 15 from the field, contributed 31 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. The big surprise, though, has been Johnson. The 6-5 guard was thought to be finished when this season began. He had a so-so season, but he has played well against the Knicks.

The Knicks' plan was to entice Johnson to shoot his jump shot. He hit several key shots in the first game and was five for seven in this one.

The four veteran starters played 119 minutes, scored 76 points, had 29 rebounds and 27 assists. They should be well-rested for Game 3 at New York Wednesday night.

"Right now we're playing with great confidence," Boston Coach Jimmy Rodgers said. "I hope there's better basketball ahead."

Detroit 100, Indiana 87--Bill Laimbeer kept his cool while others were losing theirs at Auburn Hills, Mich., and the veteran center propelled the defending champion Pistons to a 2-0 lead. Game 3 is at Indianapolis Tuesday night.

The score was tied, 41-41, at halftime. But early in the second half, Indiana's Chuck Person and Detroit's tough defender, Dennis Rodman, engaged in a shoving match and a battle of words.

Laimbeer grabbed the irate Rodman, pulled him away and calmed his teammate.

While Person was never much of a factor, Laimbeer made nine of his last 10 shots and grabbed some key rebounds. It was not until the last six minutes, though, that the Pistons pulled away.

Laimbeer scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half. It seemed that every time the Pacers made a run, he stopped them.

San Antonio 129, Denver 120--After easily winning the opener of the best-of-five series at San Antonio, the Spurs had to go all out to take a 2-0 lead.

With six minutes left, the Nuggets had a one-point lead and they were only three behind with 1:13 to play. But David Wingate made a basket and Terry Cummings made two to break the game open.

David Robinson was a major factor for the Spurs. He scored 31 points and had 12 rebounds. Cummings had 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Fat Lever, who had only six points and six rebounds in the opener, led the Nuggets. Although he was only 9 for 24 from the field, he had 26 points and led all rebounders with 16.

Portland 114, Dallas 107--The Mavericks, with Derek Harper playing a key role, opened a 14-point lead in the first quarter at Portland, but in the end, the home team prevailed again.

It was the 12th playoff game in the first round and the home team has won them all.

After shooting 58% in the first half, the Mavericks made only 7 of 22 shots in the third quarter and, with Kevin Duckworth scoring 12 points, the Trail Blazers went ahead to stay.

The Blazers won despite poor shooting by Clyde Drexler (5 for 21) and Terry Porter (3 for 15).

Harper had 21 of his 23 points in the first half.

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