By Roland Lazenby

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Additional resources for Bird: Portrait of a Competitor

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But it wasn't just Bird. The Celtics were a full-blown team. J. said. The Lakers then answered the Celtics' aggressiveness in Game 6 back in the air-conditioned Forum. In the first period, Worthy shoved Maxwell into a basket support. From there, the Lakers rode their newfound toughness and an old standby. Kareem scored 30, and Los Angeles pulled away down the stretch for a 119-108 win to tie the series at three apiece. As Carr left the Forum floor, a fan pitched a cup of liquid in his face, enraging the Celtics.

He produced so many similarly unbelievable shots and passes over the years, Boston Garden fans became more than a bit spoiled by an overdose of the supernatural. Despite his often-mentioned lack of leaping ability, Bird's positioning, timing and strong hands made him an ideal rebounder. And his offense had a hauteur to it, particularly when he could make a play at a crucial moment that killed the spirit of an opponent. His favorite weapon in those situations was the three-point shot. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, a legendary Bird watcher, was fascinated by the fact that, while Bird was philosophically opposed to the three-pointer, he used it time and again with devastating accuracy.

The Lakers could be intimidated. "We had to go out and make some things happen," Henderson recalled of Game 4. "If being physical was gonna do it, then we had to do it. I remember in the fourth game that was the turnaround. We had to have that game or we were gonna be down 3-1. We had to have it. " Dennis Johnson was certainly one of those guys. After struggling early in the series, he would finish the final four games by scoring 22, 22, 20 and 22 points. Bird, too, fit that make-things-happen mold, particularly in Game 5 back in Boston.

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