Larry Bird scored 30 points, claimed 11 rebounds and provided the go-ahead basket as the Boston Celtics again regrouped from a Cleveland rally to beat the underdog Cavaliers yesterday in Game 2 of their opening-round National Basketball Association playoff series, 108-106.
The result in Boston Garden put the defending champions in position to eliminate Cleveland when play shifts to Richfield, Ohio, Tuesday night. Boston now has beaten the Cavaliers 17 consecutive times and 21 straight as the home team.
Danny Ainge scored Boston's final three points on a 14-foot jumper and a free throw as the Celtics held off a Cavaliers team making its first appearance in the playoffs since 1978.
The Celtics led through most of the game, but Cleveland put together an 8-2 surge completed by a pair of foul shots from World B. Free putting Cleveland ahead, 102-101.
Bird answered at 2:02 to play on an eight-foot jumper and Robert Parish followed with a 10-footer at 1:22.
After the teams exchanged baskets, Roy Hinson dropped in a short jumper at 0:20 drawing the Cavaliers within 107-106. Ainge netted one of two free throws at 0:12. Free's 18-foot desperation shot at :002 fell short.
Boston received 19 points from Kevin McHale and 18 apiece from Parish and Dennis Johnson.
Free led Cleveland with 25 points, Johnny Davis had 15 and Hinson 14.