Buck Williams scored 23 points, including six in overtime, as the New Jersey Nets rallied from a 19-point third-quarter deficit and beat the Boston Celtics, 113-109, last night in East Rutherford, N.J., making Dave Wohl's coaching debut successful.
Micheal Ray Richardson, who also had six points in the extra period for New Jersey, sent the season opener for both teams into overtime with a 21-foot shot from just inside the three-point circle with two seconds left.
"I have no voice left," said Wohl, a former Los Angeles Lakers assistant who was named last summer to replace Stan Albeck. "I just don't want 81 more like that."
Boston's Larry Bird had 21 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals. He led a 29-14 rally at the start of the third quarter that put Boston ahead by 83-64. But New Jersey pulled within 87-75, then ran off a 17-4 spurt, good for a 92-91 lead.
Bird then led an 8-2 Boston burst with five points. The Celtics still led, 99-97, with Dennis Johnson at the foul line with 10 seconds to play in regulation. After Johnson missed both shots, Richardson forced overtime.
New Jersey controlled the extra period, opening a 107-103 lead as Richardson made two baskets and Darryl Dawkins and Williams each scored one. Boston, without Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, who had fouled out earlier, relied on Bird, but he wasn't enough.
"Anytime you beat the Eastern Conference champions, it's a great way to start the season," said Richardson. "It gives us a great lift."