While the Philadelphia 76ers were their dernedest to contain Bob Lanier, Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson, that other Johnson Mickey -- asserted himself with 22 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 109-86 rout of the 76ers Friday night in Milwaukee to even their NBA Easter Conference semifinal playoff series at three games each.
The deciding seventh game will be Sunday at the Spectrum in Philadelphia (WDVM-TV-9 at 1 p.m.).
Phoenix at one stage down, 3-1, in its Western Conference semifinal series with Kansas City, beat the Kings, 81-76, Friday in Kansas City to set up a seventh game in that series. The deciding game will be Sunday in Phoenix (WDVM-TV-9 at 3:30 p.m.). The winner of that game will face the incredible Houston Rockets in the conference final.
The Rockets beat the San Antonio Spurs three times on the Spurs' home court, the last time, 105-100. Friday, to win that series, 4-3.
Calvin Murphy, who hadn't started a game since the first month of the regular season, scored 42 points while a flu-stricken Moses Malone managed 21.
Houston, which ended the regular season with a 40-42 record, is the first team with that poor a record to advance to a conference final since the old St. Louis Hawks did it in 1967.
Mickey Johnson has been in the shadows of the Buck stars virtually all season, but Friday night the slender, 6-foot-10 forward from Aurora (Ill.) College rebounded all game and come up with the big plays.
Milwaukee likes to run and the 76ers don't, but Friday the Bucks beat the Sixers at both games. They controlled the boards, 55-29, enabling them to run, and, whenever they missed, a Buck was usually there to get the rebound. Marques Johnson had seven and Mickey Johnson six offensive rebounds.
Mickey, whose real first name is Wallace and whom teammates call "Rubberman" because of his ability to stretch and snare rebounds and block shots, said the Bucks were the aggressors Friday, "and if we keep that up, we should be okay Sunday."
The home court doesn't matter to me," said Lanier, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds and took Darryl Dawkins out of the game with his forceful play Friday. "They (the 76ers) have a lot to think about. When you get blown out like they did, you know somebody can kick your butt. That gives you something to think about for two days."
Mickey Johnson, who was acquired from Indiana prior to the start of the season for George Johnson and a second-round draft choice, is the ideal player for Don Nelson's system. He runs, can shoot, rebound and has the quickness and height to guard either forward.
Nelson said the Bucks' defense won Friday's game. It pressured the Philadelphia guards in the back court, swarmed Julius Erving whenever he touched the ball and sent everyone hard to both boards.
Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham was very unhappy with his team's performance. The 76er offense eventually reverted to Erving and rookie Andrew Toney taking runs going one on one.
At one point, Cunningham jumped off the bench, screaming, "Doumb, dumb," after his team let the 24-second clock expire during a critical part of the game.
Marques Johnson, who was ineffective in the fifth game because of back spasms, had a slow first half Friday, but was a major factor in the second half when the Bucks outscored the 76ers, 65-41.
Marques said he expects to be close to 100 percent healthy by Sunday.
The winner will face the Boston Celtics, with the first two games of that seven-game conference championship series tentatively scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston.