Larry Bird scored 10 of his 23 points as the Boston Celtics broke free by outscoring New York, 28-10, in an 8 1/2-minute span of the second quarter in Madison Square Garden last night to set up a 126-108 defeat of the Knicks.
Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and Kevin McHale each scored 21 points and Bird took 15 rebounds as the Celtics won their 22nd in 25 games. The 126 points were the most given up in regulation by the Knicks in 195 games, since a 129-110 loss to Cleveland on Jan. 15, 1980.
Parish scored 14 points in the first quarter, but Bernard King, who finished with 29 points to lead all scorers, had 14 during the same span. It was 44-44 with 9:19 left in the first half. Bird then scored six points during a 12-2 Boston streak to 56-46.
Darrell Walker got 14 of his 24 points in the first half for New York but Boston hit 70 percent of its shots in the first two periods and Celtics Coach K.C. Jones said the game turned on turning off Walker.
"Walker was penetrating the entire first quarter," Jones said. "It was 44-42 when we changed tactics. We had been pressuring Walker, trying to keep him from penetrating and he was blowing around us and hitting layups. We decided to play back, he stopped driving and started missing from outside."