Mike Dunleavy sneaks up behind Robert Parish, slaps the ball away and heads upcourt on a one-on-two drive. He eludes Tiny Archibald near the foul line with a behind-the-back dribble and puts a hesitation move on Larry Bird to score a layup. Very un-Rocketlike.
"I almost made that same move Saturday, but I thought why waste it in a game like that?" said Dunleavy, referring to Boston's rout in Game 3.
That was just one of many moves Dunleavy dazzled the Celtics with today en route to 28 points as he helped the Houston Rockets to a 91-86 victory at the Summit, evening the NBA championship series at 2-2.
The 6-foot-3 guard was a most unlikely Rocket hero, having scored a total of only 20 points in the three previous games.
"I thought he (Dunleavy) played a great individual game for a great team player," said Boston Coach Bill Fitch. "He hurt us in the third quarter and that set the tempo for the rest of his team."
Dunleavy had 13 points in the third period when the Rockets pulled away to stay, 75-67.
"He was super," said Houston Coach Del Harris. "He was in control of the ball game. He's just a good hard-nosed, coach's ball player. He's not pretty or flashy, but you have to love him."
Dunleavy, who made 11 of 22 shots from the field, including one three-point shot, said his teammates "set a few more picks for me than usual, and instead of always looking to Moses (Malone) I looked for the shot or the drive whenever I could.
"Before the game, Tom Henderson and I were talking and he said I had to take any shot I had, no matter what the 24-second clock said."
A fifth-round draft choice by Philadelphia in 1976, Dunleavy, from South Carolina, was signed by the Rockets as a free agent late in the 1977-78 season after the 76ers cut him. He began this season as the Rockets' fifth guard and steadily worked his way up.
He had a 48-point game earlier this season against Denver.
"I made all jumpers in that game," Dunleavy said. "Moses was hurt and we ran a lot of plays for me that day."
The Celtics didn't seem to have the same fire today they had in Saturday's 94-71 victory.
"We played hard, but we couldn't get anything accomplished," said Bird, who was held to eight points for the second straight game. He scored only two points in the second half and was limited to 11 shots by the close guarding of Houston's Robert Reid.
"I'm not that worried about Larry," said Fitch. "He's one of those guys you never have to worry about. He'll come around."
One of the few bright spots for the Celtics today was Cedric Maxwell. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds, including nine of his team's 17 offensive rebounds.
"Usually we come up with loose balls and things, but not today," Maxwell said. "We didn't accomplish much. They just dominated us, especially on the boards."
The Rockets got 28 offensive rebounds to 17 for the Celtics. Malone had 22 rebounds, nine offensive. Twelve of his 24 points were scored after he grabbed an offensive rebound.
"It helps a a lot when I have other people going to the boards with me because that means only one man can block me out and that can be tough on any one man."
Reid, usually darting to the boards from outside, had 10 offensive rebounds, 13 total, and contributed 19 points, five steals and made five blocked shots as he outplayed Bird.
Reid was only two for 11 and had five rebounds in Saturday's game.
"I just went home and relaxed and looked forward to today's game," Reid said.
Harris made one defensive adjustment by putting Malone on Parish and Billy Paultz on Maxwell. However, after Parish made three quick jump shots from outside over Malone, Harris nixed that strategy.
Harris also used only six men the entire game, a luxury only a slow-down team like Houston could afford. Malone played all 48 minutes for the second time in the series and those are the two games Houston has won.