The Celtics tried their darnedest to blow Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but maybe they needed their superstar to pound some random Bostonian bar owner into the ground, like Larry Bird did during the 1985 NBA Finals.
It only took 23 years for BASKETBAWFUL to uncover this tale of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, in which Bird’s victorious fight resulted in a finger injury.
In 1985, a man named Mike Harlow was beaten up by the Hick from French Lick on the off night between Games 2 and 3 after Harlow allegedly smacked around Bird’s friend Nick Harris for supposedly flirting with Harlow’s girlfriend. There are a ton of qualifiers in this story. Coupled with the fact that it’s been 23 years since the reported brawl. Which led to this assertion:
“So yeah, the Lakers played great and the Boston bench sucked. But it is also quite possible — even probable — that Larry Bird cost the Celtics the 1985 NBA championship.”
Was that fight really the reason the Celtics lost to the Lakers in six? Let’s go to the “table,” which is more like a three-legged Ottoman around here, to find out:
Bird’s Regular Season
Bird: 26.1 points/game, 9.6 rebounds/game, 6.0 assists/game
Before The Beatdown (Celtics: 1 win, 1 loss)
Bird: 24.0 points/game, 9.5 rebounds/game, 6.0 assists/game
After The Beatdown (Celtics: 1 win, 3 losses)
Bird: 23.5 points/game, 8.75 rebounds/game, 4.5 assists/game
Well, after the un-Glass Joe-like smackdown, down went the numbers too. Slightly. Yep, totally his fault.