Both the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers practiced today at Boston Garden in preparation for Game 2 Tuesday of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics, undefeated in seven home playoff games, will try to maintain that streak against a 76ers team that was a bit sluggish in the opener of the best-of-seven series, a 108-93 Boston victory. Boston entered the series only two days after eliminating the Detroit Pistons in a six-game semifinal series. Philadelphia had a week off before Sunday's game after its four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I'm glad we had the week off but I think it hurt us in plays where we had to react, like diving for loose balls," said guard Clint Richardson.
"That's what usually hurts us when we play them, the first game," Boston's Larry Bird said. "Usually it's us with the layoff and that puts us back early."
The 76ers now must be concerned with coming up with a defense to stop Boston's inside game. Kevin McHale scored a career playoff-high 28 points, 22 in the first half over Charles Barkley, who at 6 feet 7 is three inches smaller than McHale.
In trying to guard McHale, Barkley got into foul trouble and was forced to play center Robert Parish, who is 7-0 1/2. Parish scored 24 points with 13 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end. For the game, Boston's front-court starters outscored Philadelphia's, 77-33.
"I'm sure they'll try a lot of things -- Bobby Jones fronting and flying around, Clemon Johnson and Moses Malone playing together -- but eventually they'll have to put Barkley on me," McHale said. Nuggets Blame Offense United Press International
INGLEWOOD, Calif., May 13 -- It's long been contended that a good defense produces a good offense. The Denver Nuggets play the equation backward.
"I think we have to come out and do a better job of running our offense," center Dan Issel said after the Nuggets were routed by the Los Angeles Lakers, 139-122, in the opening game of the Western Conference final Saturday.
"It seemed (in the first game) that the Lakers were coming down and scoring every time, and they were. But it was more because we did a poor job of running our offense than because of our lack of defense."
Game 2 is Tuesday night at the Forum, where the Lakers have won 23 straight games. The series then will switch to Denver.
"It looked like they were afraid of our fast break," Los Angeles reserve Michael Cooper said. "They kept giving us 10-foot jump shots."
And the Lakers, in search of their fourth straight conference title, kept hitting them.
"They were terrific, we were nervous," Denver Coach Doug Moe admitted.