The First Quarter was marked by a series of runs: Boston moved out ahead by 9 at one point. New Jersey clawed back to within 2 a few times. Boston stretched their lead back out to 7. Finally, New Jersey ended the quarter with a tiny spurt to only find themselves down, 33-30.
A few things were evident in the First Quarter: New Jersey's Michael Ray Richardson was having a tough time with Boston's Dennis Johnson, New Jersey's Otis Birdsong could not find the range on his shots, and the one thing keeping the Nets close was their bench ( Bobby Cattage: 7 points).
The Second Quarter was more of rock versus the consistent waves of the ocean: No matter how much the Nets tried, they could not stem the steady attack of the Celtics. Johnson consistently pressured Richardson and when Richardson did get space to take a shot he was off target and Johnson's teammates, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish cleaned up the leftovers. These rebounds would lead to fast breaks. The Nets looked up and they were suddenly down by 15 points.
McHale and Parish rendered New Jersey's Williams and Gminski ineffective as well and that caused Richardson and Birdsong to shoot more – and that was not good.
The key player of the First Half had to be Boston's Dennis Johnson. He controlled Richardson, masterfully handled Boston's opportunistic fast break and made most of his shots when he found himself open (6-9 FG and 2-2 FT for 14 points). Johnson was the most important factor in the Celtics scoring 39 points in the Second Quarter and opening up an impressive 72-54 lead.
The Third Quarter was really competitive. New Jersey cut into the large lead Boston had built by stepping up their collective defense. Their bench helped a lot once again (O'Koren - 6 pts) and at the end of the quarter the Nets were only down by 14 points, 98-85.
The Fourth Quarter began in a defensive struggle. No one was scoring. Slowly, the Nets chipped away at the lead - Gminski and Williams regained the glass over McHale and Parish. New Jersey's shooting percentage didn't greatly improve, but with the extra chances earned from those offensive rebounds the crept up on the Celtics and whittled the lead down to 7 points about half way through the quarter.
Timely shooting was not what New Jersey had going for them. Richardson and Birdsong and Even King had trouble finding the bottom of the net when the team really needed it.
A key play occurred when Birdsong stripped Ainge of the ball with the lead at 9 for Boston - on that fast break, Birdsong and Richardson were not on the same page and the ball ended up in the stands. Boston scored on their next possession (a McHale dive to the hole right over Buck Williams who almost got a piece of the shot, if I remember correctly) and the Boston lead went back to 11 points and you could feel the momentum leave the Nets.
Final Score: Boston 128 New Jersey 110
Parish 32 points 11 rebounds
Bird 22 points 8 rebounds
McHale 19 points 7 rebounds
Dennis Johnson ended up with 18 points after a first half of 14 points
What This Is
I am working on a 1985-86 Season replay of the Boston Celtics.