Philadelphia's Clint Richardson didn't plan on scoring much today. All he thought about was stopping Milwaukee's Sidney Moncrief, he said. He did both.
Richardson scored all seven of the 76ers' points in overtime and played a major part in making it a miserable day for Moncrief (seven points). The 76ers came away with a 111-109 victory at the Spectrum in the opening game of the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference championship playoff series that will be resumed here Wednesday.
It was a physical, intense game throughout, with all sorts of twists, including a decision by Milwaukee Coach Don Nelson to try to win the game in the final seconds of overtime on a three-point shot by Brian Winters instead of going for the tie.
Winters' attempt with five seconds left came from beyond the top of the key. It was straight, but hit the back iron and Maurice Cheeks ran it down as time ran out.
"We were running out of people," said Nelson. "I thought we would take a chance and win it or lose it."
Both Julius Erving and Andrew Toney fouled out for the 76ers, as did the Bucks' Bob Lanier and Junior Bridgeman.
Lanier did not allow Moses Malone to dominate, limiting him to 14 points and 12 rebounds. Lanier had 15 points and nine rebounds, but lasted only 27 minutes, Malone 48.
Bridgeman (22 points) and Winters (17), the Bucks' long-range reserve outside shooters, were accurate with their jumpers, and, with Marques Johnson, brought the Bucks back from a 16-point deficit.
One of the biggest plays of the game was at the defensive end by Bobby Jones. Winters made a 22-foot jump shot as he was being fouled by Erving, with 2:14 left in the overtime. Winters made the free throw for a 109-106 Milwaukee lead.
After an exchange of possession, Winters fouled Richardson at the other end and the 6-foot-4 reserve made both free throws to reduce the lead to a point with 1:36 left.
Jones then fooled Alton Lister into throwing a bad inbounds pass and his steal set up a dunk by Richardson for a lead the 76ers never gave up.
Lister grabbed the ball as Richardson's second free throw came through to inbound the ball to Johnson.
"Bobby Jones hesitated a bit, like he was going to go upcourt, and then when I went to throw it in, he spun around and knocked it away," Lister said.
Jones grabbed the ball and controlled it, turned and flipped it to Richardson before falling out of bounds.
"I wasn't looking to pressure the ball," said Jones, "but I saw that he was committed to throwing it to Marques and I got my hand in there."
Said Richardson: "I was just in the right place at the right time. I was just standing there. I was mad because I had a shot blocked a minute earlier, so I stuck my hand halfway through the rim this time.
"I don't think they were expecting me to be our whole offense."
After a Milwaukee timeout, Lister threw the ball away again, this time trying to throw a lob pass to Johnson.
Jones missed a jumper on Philadelphia's possession, however, and then fouled Johnson with 26 seconds left. Johnson, who scored 30 points and had made eight of nine free throws, missed both his shots.
Jones got the rebound on the second miss and the 76ers played keep-away until Moncrief fouled Richardson with nine seconds left. Richardson made only the second of his two shots and the Bucks called timeout, trailing by two. Then came Winters' miss, and the Bucks were done.
Cheeks scored 12 of his 26 points in the first quarter as the 76ers moved to a 12-point lead. They led by as many as 16 early in the second period, but Johnson scored 12 points in one 2:30 stretch late in the half, to get the Bucks within two at halftime.
They took the lead for the first time at 90-89 on a fast break by Johnson with 6:55 remaining and neither team led by more than three the rest of the game.
A tap-in by Bridgeman with 52 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 104 and neither side scored again in regulation. Jones blocked a shot by Johnson with three seconds left to force the extra period.
Moncrief, who averaged 22.8 points in the series against Boston, made only one of nine shots today. He did have eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, but also committed eight turnovers. As a team, the Bucks had 25 turnovers, which led to 35 Philadelphia points.