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Bob Ryan in the Globe writes a love letter to DiGregorio, calling him "the most gifted floor leader since the Cooz...that rarity among pro athletes in that he always says hello first."
Rhode Island Senator John Pastore phones Red Auerbach regarding the Celtics' decision to black out the telecast of the game in New England. The blackout is lifted. We love our Celtics but, oh, you election year.
It is nearly forgotten that John Havlicek, out with "torn fascia" (which is not an Andy Warhol starlet but a foot injury), is returning to the Celtic lineup, that Dave Cowens land Paul Silas, your essential greatest-power-forward-to-go-unrecognized-in-history, are ready to abandon conservatism, kick butts and take names.
Comes the eve. When the Braves discover Ernie D cannot dribble past Charlie Scott's long arms, they begin running around, as DiGregorio says later, "like chickens with our heads cut off."
Havlicek moves the Celtics. The tag-team duo of Hurricane Red ( Cowens) and Paul Maul ( Silas) wrestles McAdoo into the upper decks. Red cranks up for 30 points while Maul adds 15 to his 22 rebounds. Above all, Scott envelops Ernie D as the Celtics win 99-88 while taking a whopping 30 more shots than Buffalo. "And we're supposed to be the running team," DiGregorio says.
The feeling exists that now that the Celtics have cut the head (Ernie D), the body will die. "I want to get this series over with," says Cowens. "You get tired of looking at the same damn guys. It seems like practice."
The champions are tired. Having finished off the Pistons in Detroit just 39 hours earlier in a torturous overtime game, the Golden State Warriors must begin the Western Division finals as dawn comes up like thunder 'cross the Bay, so that television may be accommodated. The Warriors seem in emotional tatters after their tough battle against the put-upon Pistons, whose coach, the hyperactive Herb Brown, emerged as the most unexpectedly adroit tactician since Marko Todorovich was guiding Tri-Cities in 1951. In the deciding contest Rick Barry wailed so much about the refereeing that teammates seeking to restrain him pushed him over a chair in the runway. Whereupon a kindly old Motown gentleman tried to poke out his eyes with a cane. "My kids should die if I hit anybody on those fouls," Barry said later.
Like all good Catholic boys, Mr. Hair-So-New is bright and shiny on Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. Many Warriors have harsh words for CBS, but Barry, an off-season announcer for the network, says the 11:40 a.m. starting time is merely "an evil we have to live with."
The brunchlike atmosphere takes its toll as both teams throw air balls, dribble off their sneakers, yawn a lot. Even Barry misses three early layups before scoring eight of 10 Warrior baskets in the middle of the first half for a 42-32 Golden State lead.