The Philadelphia 76ers are known for having one of the greatest assemblage of individual stars of any team in the National Basketball Association, past or present.
Those stars played as a team yesterday, "one that would have made even the (Portland) Trail Blazers, the ultimate team, proud," said forward George McGinnis.
The 76ers blended individual talent into a phenomenal display of all-around basketball as they dumped the New York Knicks, 130-90, for a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Confrence semifinal playoff series.
Game two will be played here Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m.
The 40-ponit defeat is the worst for the Knicks in playoff competition.
"Everyone on this team is capable of doing more if he is asked," said Philadelphia's Julius Erving. "We showed a glimpse of that today."
That glimpse was an eyeful.
The 76ers grabbed 75 rebounds, 26 off the offensive boards and had 32 assists, as they took control of the game near the end of the first quarter and never let up.
So balanced were the Sixers that eight scored in double figures, but no one had more than Steve Mix's 19 points. The only player who didn't score was reserve guard Ted McCilain, but he had five assists.
"The two major strong parts of our game were our intensity defensively and our defensive rebounding," said Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham. "We got quite a few fat breaks because of our defense and our rebounding."
Erving registered a couple of slam dungs, but his shooting was off and he missed 12 of 18 shots. He made up for it by grabbing 15 rebounds, handing off four assists and blocking five shots.
The man who dominated yesterday for the 76ers was 7-foot-1 center Caldwell Jones.
He scored 12 points, 10 on offensive rebounds, and led the 76ers with 16 rebounds. He also turned in a masterful job of defense on Bob McAdoo.
McAdoo, who buried Cleveland with 41 points in one game of that miniseries and had 27 in the other, scored only 12 points yesterday, making only six of 19 shots.
Jones never gave McAdoo an uncontested shot. After awhile, McAdoo stopped looking for a shot.
A driving layup by McAdoo gave New York a 16-14 lead late in the first quarter, but Philadelphia responded with 14 of the periods's final 18 points to take a 28-20 lead. Jones had six of the points four on tap-ins and the other two on a fast break dunk after he blocked a McAdoo jumper.
The 76ers started the second period with a 13-0 run to take a 41-20 lead.
As an indication of how good the 76ers are, Erving and McGinnis had only four points between them to that point and the 76ers were rolling ahead full speed.
The pressure didn't let up with the reserves, as the 76ers scored the game's final 18 points and held New York scoreless the final 4:13 minutes.
Reserve guard, rookie Ray Williams, led the Knicks with 24 points, but other than McAdoo, the only New Yorker in double figures was Spencer Haywood with 12.
"I think we all played bad," McAdoo said. "This was the worst game we played all year. Our defense just fell through."
The offense wasn't far behind as New York shot a lowly 38 percent.