|Source: Larry Legend-|
Celtics-Knicks, a rivalry with a great history. This was a classic series in one of the best rivalries and two of the best franchises in the NBA. The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. Where you have four Hall of Famers in it in Bernard King for the Knicks and Larry Bid, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Dennis Johnson for the Celtics, should also be in the Hall of Fame, but that a different story. The Celtics actually had four Hall of Famers if you include their head coach K.C. Jones. And that is really the difference in this series. The Knicks were so dependent on one player in Bernard King, whereas the Celtics had several great players and great role players. People like Cedric Maxwell, Danny Ainge, Scott Wedman.
The Knicks, similar to the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls of the mid and late 1980s, were very dependent on one great scorer to lead the way. And when that one player was having a good game that would free up scoring opportunities for other players. The Hawks, had Dominique Wilkins and the Bulls of course had Michael Jordan. But neither team had another great scorer they could go to when their best player had an off game. And all great scorers in the NBA have off games, but if they’re playing on very good teams, those teams have other scorers and generally multiple scorers that can pick up the slack when their best scorer has that off game. With the Knicks, it really was Bernard King. And sometimes Bill Cartwright and Ray Williams. But they needed King at his best for most games.
I believe that was the main difference in this series. The great team in the Celtics, vs the great player in Bernard King. If King has one of those great games and scored in the high thirties and forties, the Knicks could play with the Celtics, if they played good defense. But the Celtics had Larry Bird who by himself was about as great of a scorer as the NBA has ever seen. The reason why he didn’t score as much as the other great scorers was because he didn’t have to. Teams would do a lot to stop him and Legend was such a great pass and playmaker and would free up his teammates for scores. As well as a great rebounder and team defender. He didn’t have to have a great scoring night to beat the Knicks. Because he had a lot of help and did so many other things for the Celtics.
Larry Legend-CBS Sports: NBA 1984- ECSF Game 1- New York Knicks @ Boston Celtics: Highlights