38 Years Ago, Larry Bird’s 60 Point Game Made The Opposing Bench Go Crazy
37 years ago today, on March 12, 1985, Larry Bird set a Celtics franchise record, that still stands today, by scoring 60 points.
It was one of the most memorable games in NBA history! These 60 points included the final 16 for the Celtics on a total of 22-of-36 shooting from the field and 15-of-16 from the line.
John Sterling, who was the Atlanta Hawks radio broadcaster in the 1980s. described what it was like watching Bird shoot that day.
“In the old days, you were so much in the game. I was sitting at the table right there next to the Hawks bench. He was making shots from our microphone, one unbelievable shot after another. You know that modern term, heat-check? Larry might have invented the heat-check that night.”
The craziest thing that night wasn’t the reaction of the broadcasters, nor was it Larry’s sixty points (well, actually it was). It was the Hawks (bench) players’ reaction to Larry Bird’s statement game.
You know you are witnessing greatness when the bench of the losing team celebrates, while the opposing star-player is torching their team. Their reaction eventually even led to a fine by head coach Mike Fratello for their “unacceptable” bench behavior.
But not only the bench players were in awe, the stars and starters of the Hawks couldn’t believe what they were witnessing either. Doc Rivers recalled the night Bird went on to destroy them.
“He said ‘in the trainer’s lap’ coming down the court, which meant it was going to be a three and it was going to from deep. Then he said, ‘who wants it?’ Then I think Rickey Brown, I’m not sure who it was, ran out after him, he shot this high rainbow, it goes in, Rickey bumps into him — and accidentally knocks him on our trainer’s lap. So it was exactly what he said, it was an accident but it was almost fate. They show a shot of our bench, Cliff Levingston and Eddie Johnson are standing up giving each other high fives. It was pretty awesome.”
After the game, Bird’s teammate Robert Parish said that Bird explicitly told the other Boston players to give him the ball and get out of the way.
“He told us at halftime that nobody could stop him so just give him the ball and get out of the way. Then he went out and started taunting the Atlanta players on the floor, the ones on the bench, their coaches, even the referees. He was talking so much trash he was buried in it. It was one of those nights when he could have drop-kicked the ball in. I loved it.”