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Pat Riley Gets Nod From Bird

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the most valuable player and Magic Johnson got his redemption, so what else is there to say after Sunday’s happening at Boston Garden?

Larry Bird thought it appropriate to put in a good word for the man who orchestrated the happening, Coach Pat Riley of the Lakers.

“He’s an excellent coach,” said Bird. “His strategy was very good. From game to game I had to keep changing what I was doing.

“They made more adjustments than we did. It was unbelievable the way he coached and the hours that he put in.”

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Take a bow, Mr. Riley.

From Alan Greenberg’s column in the Hartford Courant Saturday: “Well, Lakers, how does it feel to be back in Boston, even though you’re up, 3-2? Is it like when you’re cold and lonely and the wind begins to howl? Or is it like when it’s so hot and humid that you can’t breathe and all you want to do is scream for help, but you can’t swallow and you can’t talk and everything starts spinning and you think you’re going to die?

“I wonder.”

Any more questions, Alan?

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Brent Musburger incorrectly stated that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was winning his first playoff MVP, and Kareem had to correct him, but at least Musburger has an out.

In the NBA Guide, Abdul-Jabbar’s name does not appear. The 1970-71 winner is listed as Lew Alcindor of Milwaukee.

From Rick Tosches of UPI: “If a woman had become pregnant on the first day of the season, she would have already given birth to the child. Either the NBA season lasts much too long, or the human gestation period does.”

Add Tosches: “The best insult of the series: A Laker fan, watching the Celtics’ M.L. Carr during Game 5 warmups, screamed, ‘Hey, M.L., I was you for Halloween, but I got a hernia carrying around the bench.’ ”

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From Bob Ryan’s column in the Boston Globe Feb. 19, eleven weeks before the NBA lottery: “There is no doubt about it. The NBA is crazy if it doesn’t find a way to steer Patrick Ewing to New York.”

How good is Marco Baldi, the 6-11 center who turned down USC and Maryland to go to St. John’s? Apparently, he’s not the next Patrick Ewing.

Bob McKillop, who coached Baldi at Long Island Lutheran in Brookville, N.Y., told Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post: “I’ve coached a lot of players who were more talented. Marco is a good player, but he’s no great talent. He’s not a franchise.”

Baldi was pursued by all three schools in Milan, where he plays for Simac, an Italian League team.

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USC Coach Stan Morrison, who visited Milan, told Jenkins: “It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds. When you go on Tuesday and come back Thursday, it’s not much fun. Gyms smell the same all over the world.”

Quotebook

Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Lakers: “I just hope he retires after next year.”


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