The first adventures of 'Vich and 'Rich took place before wildly fluctuating crowds in the Superdome. For the season opener against Phoenix, 12,234 were on hand as Maravich and Goodrich scored 53 between them—33 and 20 respectively—in a 111-98 New Orleans victory. Then Philadelphia came to town, drawing an NBA record crowd of 27,383, most of whom wanted to see Julius Erving. The show, however, was stolen by another 76er, George McGinnis, who scored 37 in a 111-101 Philly romp.
It was not a good night for the Jazz. Philadelphia Guard Fred Carter gave Goodrich more than he could handle, and Maravich played sluggishly, earning himself a tongue-lashing at halftime from van Breda Kolff, whose evening was further damaged when the seat of his threadbare jeans ripped during one of his frequent leaps from the bench. Things would have been worse but for an 18-10 New Orleans spurt in the third quarter. The splurge included a two-on-one fast break in which Maravich and Goodrich passed the ball back and forth four times before the Pistol scored a layup. The play earned a thundering ovation.
"I'd have given it back to Gail if we had more room," Maravich said later, savoring the moment. "He's the kind of player that if he puts in a couple of easy baskets he can really get it going."
"That's the sort of thing Pete and I can do well together," agreed Goodrich. "We're conscious of each other out there."
The two of them had managed to score 44 points (28 'Vich, 16 'Rich) but after the game van Breda Kolff was still thinking team balance. "It's not enough for Pete and Gail to make each other better," he said. "They've got to make the rest of the team better, too." If that was a birthday wish, it came true Friday night against the Washington Bullets. This one drew 9,118 to the Dome and the Jazz won it 111-93, with Maravich and Goodrich not only putting the ball in the basket—their totals this time were 25 and 21 respectively—but also ball-hawking and setting up teammates for easy baskets. The chief beneficiaries were Forwards Aaron James, a third-year man averaging 19 a game, and 6'9" rookie Paul Griffin, a fifth-round draft choice from Western Michigan who could be one of the sleepers of the season.
The high spot of the evening for the Jazz was a spectacular play that began when Goodrich, bottled up at his own end, unloosed a behind-the-back pass downcourt to Maravich, whose back was to the Bullet basket. The Pistol then flipped a pass behind him to the onrushing James, who went past a couple of befuddled defenders for an uncontested basket. Goodrich to Maravich to, ah, James.
On Saturday the three of them mounted much the same kind of operation against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden: Maravich got 39, Goodrich 10 and James 25, including 10 of 11 from the floor, and the Jazz won 115-112. For a brief and no doubt fleeting moment, New Orleans actually seemed three times better than last year.