Along with millions of other NBA fans I witnessed via TV half of the first Buck-Celtic playoff game. That is, we were permitted to see only half of the actual playing time so Rick Barry would have ample time to explain the plays. At times Rick became so fascinated with his beautiful voice and the electronic playback equipment that he would chatter through the next two plays.
After viewing the NBA playoffs, the old question comes up again about which came first, the NBA referee or the straitjacket?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hardly had a chance: he was pushed, shoved and tripped. I considered it a moral victory to see him come back downcourt in one piece.
But as one outraged Atlanta fan once stood up and screamed (while the Atlanta Hawks were trailing the Philadelphia 76ers by 14 points), "Don't feel bad about it, folks, we're going five on seven."
Tony Waldrop's performance (his unparalleled string of sub-four-minute miles) and, equally important, his perspective (on athletics, on education, on life) make him a natural choice for Sportsman of the Year.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
FRONT AND CENTER
Where was Peter Carry (They're Centers of Attention, May 13) during the Buffalo-Boston series? First of all, Boston didn't "dally briefly in knocking out Buffalo 4-2." With a few breaks going the other way Boston could have been on the short end of the series. In the first game the Braves blew a 17-point third-quarter lead due to a lack of previous playoff experience. In the final game they missed a chance for overtime when Boston's Jo Jo White scored the winning point on a free throw after time had run out.
Secondly, Carry asks, "Could Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the game's best, score often enough to dominate Dave Cowens, the second best?" Is he kidding? Or does he just praise the big names on reputation alone? He can't seriously believe that Dave Cowens is the second-best center in the NBA. Granted, Cowens has established that he hustles and can win on a team with the likes of John Havlicek and Jo Jo White, but no one who really watched this season's matchups could fail to realize that Buffalo's Bob McAdoo in only his second year was clearly the superior basketball player. In 22 of 24 quarters of playoff action McAdoo outplayed Cowens. During the regular season Big Mac ate up Cowens with 52-and 48-point games. Against the rest of the league McAdoo didn't do much, he just led the NBA in scoring and field goal percentage while helping his team almost double its previous year's victory total (22-42). Even Ray Fitzgerald of
The Boston Globe
concedes McAdoo's talent: "It's as though a coach sketched him on a drawing board and asked MIT to build him just that way."