Larry Bird scored 24 of his 35 points in the first half as the Boston Celtics built a 10-point lead en route to a 119-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night in Richfield, Ohio.
The loss, only the third in 10 games for Cleveland, disappointed a sellout crowd of 20,900, the second largest for a regular-season Cavaliers home game. It was topped only by the 21,130 for a visit by Washington in February 1976.
Boston (53-14) won its fourth straight and ninth in 11 games.
After falling behind by four points early, Boston got 14 points from Bird in the final 7:15 of the first quarter to take a 33-25 lead at the period.
McHale, in his 13th straight start in place of injured Cedric Maxwell, scored 19 points. Cleveland was led by Hinson (24 points) and World B. Free (22).
76ers 119, Knicks 110: In Philadelphia, Moses Malone scored 31 points and Charles Barkley got 10 of his 16 in the third quarter to lead the way against New York.
The Knicks, who fell behind by 16 points midway through the first quarter, tied the score at 63 on Bernard King's drive with 8:49 left in the third period but Malone's three-point play 12 seconds later gave the 76ers the lead for good.