Peter Carry states (A Matter of Celtic Pride, May 20) that it was actually the Bucks who were more unyielding in holding Boston considerably under its 109 points per game regular season average. However, he fails to mention that Boston held Milwaukee well under its season average of 107 points per game. In fact, the Bucks scored fewer than 90 points in four of the seven playoff games, scoring more than 100 points in two games only because they went into overtime. Boston clearly was stingier and outplayed Milwaukee throughout the series. Please give credit where it is due.
John Havlicek is a great player who deserves most of the recognition he is receiving. However, the award reads Most Valuable Player. A number of NBA stars could have brought the Celtics the title (e.g., Walt Frazier or Rick Barry). But only one man in basketball history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, could have brought a mediocre team like the Bucks, who were playing without star guard Lucius Allen, so close to a title. It was an effort beyond any of Russell or Chamberlain, and Abdul-Jabbar deserved the designation Most Valuable Player.
Peter Carry's report on the NBA playoffs nearly ignored a super effort by the Milwaukee Bucks. It took the Celtics seven games to beat a team with one aging but agile guard, one forward who could only rebound, another who could only shoot and a center who had to take all his rest breaks on the court. Plus sneaky sub Mickey Davis, who surprised everybody.
The Bucks didn't lose. They just ran out of steam. With a healthy Lucius Allen, it wouldn't even have been close. Only John Havlicek played a great series for the Celtics.
And Havlicek's stamina at his age can also be explained. For the better part of his Boston career he was the sixth man—getting plenty of rest on the bench. When did Oscar Robertson ever sit on a bench?
I think Peter got Carry-ed away by Red Auerbach's victory cigar smoke.
C. R. WERLE
GOODBY BIG O
What was overlooked in all the excitement of the NBA playoffs was the farewell of the Big O—Oscar Robertson, dominating college basketball in the late '50s, leading the U.S. Olympic team (considered by many the finest aggregation of hoop talent ever) to a gold medal and keeping the Cincinnati Royals in the NBA. In 1971 he capped his quest for an NBA championship by taking the Milwaukee Bucks to the title with the help of second-year Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Back in my high school days in New Jersey the reason to see the lowly Knicks in old Madison Square Garden was twofold: the Cousy-Russell Celtics and the Big O.
The time has come for baseball to do something about eliminating the mayhem that takes place at second when a base runner attempts to break up the double play. When Don Baylor of the Orioles (6'1" and 190 pounds) crashes into Angel Hermoso of the Indians (5'9" and 155 pounds), baseball ceases to be sport. If there isn't some penalty established, then retaliation will naturally result.
Maybe we need some huskies like Honus Wagner or Nap Lajoie to handle these crashing runners. Or a feisty shortstop like Rabbit Maranville, who refused to throw around Cy Williams as he came into second standing up and instead threw right into his face. I saw this happen some 50 years ago. Perhaps landing on the crasher spikes first is the answer. Or an irate crowd of spectators waiting at the exit to decry the culprit, as happened to Ty Cobb in Philadelphia after he spiked Eddie Collins and Home Run Baker on the same day. Cobb needed a cordon of police to protect him.