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Pat Putnam
April 28, 1975
Washington and Buffalo, two of the best, beat up on each other in a rugged and unpredictable NBA playoff series
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April 28, 1975

A Beaut Of A Brawl

Washington and Buffalo, two of the best, beat up on each other in a rugged and unpredictable NBA playoff series

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The boos grew louder.

"Ah, yes," said Roberts. "Well, Randy, I might add that the Bullets won both games the teams played in Buffalo."

"True. But you know if they expect to win there Saturday they are going to have to play a lot harder than they did tonight."

Up in the stands, a fan whipped off a sneaker and threw it toward Smith. A few beer cups sailed down. It was a short interview.

For the second game Unseld's iced-down knee was back in working order, and he swept the boards for 25 rebounds, 10 of them at the offensive end. Hayes added 16, giving the pair 41, five more than the entire Buffalo team. The Braves' running game was slowed to a jog.

Hayes solved a problem, too. In the opener McAdoo played off him, let him make a move and then was content to stick a blinding hand in his face when he shot. It was effective. And the Braves had been able to forget about Unseld and put two or sometimes three men on Hayes. But when Unseld drilled home his first two shots in the second game, both 20-footers, half Buffalo's stop-Hayes strategy went down the drain. The Braves no longer could ignore the Bullet center.

With only McAdoo to contend with, Hayes began to hit with his 15-foot turnaround jump shot. And McAdoo began to guess. Hayes was home free. He scored 34 points and Washington won easily 120-106.

"Well, we've had it both ways," said Buffalo Coach Jack Ramsay after Game Two. "We rebounded and ran in the first one; they rebounded and kept us from running in the second. But we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. Even though we were underdogs, I honestly think we were a little overconfident."

The series moved back to Washington for Game Three, and the Braves were in trouble almost immediately when Smith, the only man with a chance of stopping Porter, picked up three quick fouls in the first quarter and sat out nearly 14 minutes of the half. The way Porter was playing, it might not have mattered. From the opening tip-off, he was a cobra gone mad. The 5'11" guard would quickly bring the ball down, dazzle everyone with a dozen or so fakes and then crash the middle, dealing off, in the end, for 13 assists while scoring 19 points on his own.

"I figure I could have had a few more points if they'd start calling a few fouls when I drive," said Porter. "Can you believe they only called one my way all night? I guess I'm known as a fouler, and all the officials look for me to foul. Not the other way around."

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