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NBA Playoffs Roundup : Catledge Finds Mark as Bullets Bite the Dust

When the Philadelphia 76ers learned Friday that their powerful star Moses Malone will not play at all during the playoffs, they could have quietly slipped away. Instead, they put their faith in Terry Catledge, the 6-8 rookie replacement for their center.

And the rookie came through. Catledge scored 27 points to lead the 76ers to a 134-109 victory over the Washington Bullets Sunday at Philadelphia in the fifth and deciding game of the first round of postseason play.

The 76ers will open a best-of-seven series Tuesday night at Milwaukee against the Bucks.

Catledge, racing down the floor ahead of his 7-7 counterpart Manute Bol, triggered a fast break that overwhelmed the Bullets in the first half. He had 21 of his points before intermission as the 76ers built a 70-52 lead.

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The Bullets never got closer than 12 in the second half. When they did cut the lead to 103-91 with seven minutes left, the 76ers, remembering the first game of the series when they were outscored, 18-0, in the stretch to lose by a point, broke it open again.

Charles Barkley, held in check in the two games the Bullets won in the hard-fought series, again asserted himself. He had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists.

“We got off to a good start and kept playing hard,” Barkley told United Press International. “We just couldn’t be denied.”

Catledge, who was starring for South Alabama a little more than a year ago, was given a starting assignment March 30 after Malone, the 6-10 center generally rated the best in the NBA, broke the orbital bone beneath his right eye.

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In his first game Catledge scored 29 points. The rest of the regular season he was often a force on offense. But in the first four games of the series, he had only 52 points.

He made 10 of 16 shots in the first half, most of them on the front end of the fast break. The 76ers converted 32 fast breaks into 42 points.

“I was throwing it up every chance I got,” Catledge said. “If he (Bol) blocked it, I was going to take it right back to him.”

Boston 103, Atlanta 91--The Hawks, in the opening game of their second round series at Boston, seemed in awe of the Celtics.

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Until Danny Ainge started hustling on defense and setting up the offense early in the second half, the Celtics didn’t seem much interested in the proceedings.

The Hawks, though they shot only 41% in the first half and deteriorated in the second, trailed only, 58-52, three minutes into the third quarter.

It was then that Ainge took charge and Kevin McHale did the shooting. They had one run of 14-0, six of the points by McHale, and by the end of three quarters, it was 86-63.

In addition to scoring 24 points, McHale, named to the NBA all-defensive team this week, had more than a little to do with scoring champion Dominique Wilkins having a poor game.

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Wilkins was only 4 for 15 from the field, most of them forced over the long arms of McHale.

Celtic Coach K.C. Jones kept his regulars on the bench in the last quarter.


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