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1992 NBA Game Recap – Boston @ Cleveland Game 7

Spoiler Alert: This is Larry Bird’s last game.

Bird’s back gave up on him this season. He missed all of January and February, hit a game tying 3 with Drexler draped all over him in March, then missed the last 8 games and a first round 3 game sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

The Cavs got the 2nd seed with a 57 win season, and beating the Nets 3-1 set up a second round matchup with the aging-but-still-a-3-seed Celtics.

Bird only comes back in game 4, and only re-enters the starting lineup in game 6, a Celtics win to force game 7 in Cleveland.


PG: John Bagley v Mark Price
SG: Reggie Lewis v Craig Ehlo
SF: Kevin Gamble v Mike Sanders
PF: Larry Bird v Larry Nance
C: Robert Parish v Brad Daugherty

Coach: Chris Ford v Lenny Wilkens, who I think was born with the “bald at the front / afro at the back” look and probably still has it now.

1st Quarter

The first play of the game the Celtics go to 38 year old Parish, which leads to a turnover and Craig Ehlo fast break. The next play they learn from their mistake, Bird hitting a shot in both faces of Mike Sanders and Nance. Parish then shows he’s not done yet with an actual “Parish”. 

Price and Daugherty start out on fire though, putting the Cavs up 19-8 and forcing a Boston timeout. This gives the camera a chance to show the rows full of pastel polo shirts tucked into high jeans, such was the early-Seinfeld fashion at the time. One shot actually shows a dead ringer for Seinfeld’s brother, Adam Wilson, holding up a Let’s Go Cavs sign. Quite a few big mos as well dancing away to Old TIme Rock n Roll.

Dee Brown, Kevin McHale and Ed Pinckney come in for the Celtics, with Hot Rod injecting himself into the game for the Cavs. Bird hits again, but the Cavs continue to roll, going up 29-14, leaving the Celtics rattled and The Final Countdown on the PA.

Putting Joe Kleine in for Bird didn’t help either.

Cleveland 35 – Boston 21

2nd Quarter

The Celtics’ leading scorer, Reggie Lewis, starts out 0/4, and on his 5th shot attempt, he loses his shoe. A close up of his shoes reveals the high percentage of players wearing Reebok Pumps. I’d be disappointed if Dee Brown wasn’t one of them.

The Cavs start the second quarter as they left off the first, behind good play from Larry Nance, who wouldn’t have too much trouble going to a fancy dress party dressed as a vampire. Count Nancula.

Robert Parish, who has had an up and down series, is limping around like Melvin Thomas. He’s the oldest player in the league and at times this game he looks it. But he would go on to play 5 more seasons after this. Surely the longest anyone has held the title of “oldest player in the league”.

McHale keeps Boston in it, and Reggie Lewis wakes up and hits 4 straight shots. A Bird around-the-back layup gets the Celtics within 12. The Cavs take a timeout to steady the ship and listen to EMF’s Unbelievable, and end the half strongly.

Cleveland 63 – Boston 47

3rd Quarter

Cotton Fitzsimons is commentating this game, and there were whispers over whether the Celtics were better without Bird. On cue, Bird finds himself with a visibly-terrified Ehlo guarding him, the scorebench already marking down the 2 points.

Both teams start the second half cold though, with a short spurt by the Cavs getting them up 20. Cotton remarks that when McHale runs it always looks like he’s in pain. Maybe he just needs to take the coat hanger out of his jersey. 

Gamble finds himself on a fast break for an easy layup and then…OH! WHAT A BLOCK BY EHLO! Price comes back the other way…and hits a driving layup. Too much Price and Daugherty for the Celtics to handle and the Cavs go up 25.

This fires up the crowd, which included lookalikes of a guy from Saved By The Bell, Marcie from Married With Children and Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years without glasses.

Lewis, averaging 28ppg this series, hits a couple of shots before Ed Pinckney does a good Charles Smith impression, giving blocks to Nance and Hot Rod, who himself has got a bit of Charles Smith about him.

The camera shows us a prolonged big closeup of Steve Kerr for some reason. His face covers half the screen. The commentators’ conversation turns to the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery and who will get the #1 pick to draft Shaquille O’Neal.

Daugherty ends the quarter with 25 points on 9/11 shooting. He’s dominating Parish, and there’s no way watching this game you would believe he only has 2 seasons left in him and Parish 5.

Cleveland 95 – Boston 71

4th Quarter

This game is over, and questions turn to whether this is Larry Bird’s last ever quarter.

After a couple of Cavs early buckets, the Celtics get so desperate that McHale is shooting 3s. The Cavs are so confident, Danny Ferry comes on.

Bird sits for the last time early in the quarter and we see Rick Fox, along with Bobby Phills, Steve Kerr, John Battle and Henry James.

I’ll save you the garbage time.

Cleveland 122

Daugherty 28pts, 9reb, 6ast, 3blk
Hot Rod 20pts, 8reb, 4blk
Nance 15pts, 9reb, 8ast

Boston 104

Reggie Lewis 22
Dee Brown 18
Larry Bird 12

So that’s how it ended for Bird, and in the space of one season, the main attractions of the 1980s in Magic and Bird were both lost to the NBA, with one last run left with Christian Leattner’s Dream Team. The winner of this series went on to play Jordan’s Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. Had the Celtics got through, do you think they’d have a chance Michael?

4 thoughts on “1992 NBA Game Recap – Boston @ Cleveland Game 7”

  1. Great summary Jesse.

    Q1 – The Seinfeld fashion was rife in this era. It had that mix with the leftover of the Magnum PI look of the 1980’s mixed in with it – given no one in Seinfeld actually had the 80’s manicured mo’. I’d like to see a still or slowdown grab of the crowd shots and see if there is still someone holding on to the Miami Vice look too, although being played in Cleveland blokes would have probably got beat up in the carpark for dressing like that!
    On the basketball side of things, a bit surprised at Gamble starting ahead of Dee Brown, but guess Brown was still very young here?

    Q2 – did Reebok miss a trick here somehow? MJ had Nike on the rise to the biggest brand, but The Pump was such a phenomenon you wonder how Reebok were basically gone only 10 years later?
    Very hard to believe The Chief went on for 5 more seasons after this one, shows the importance a smart, space taking big held in the 90’s against all the HOF centres.

    Q3 – I think most of the Celtics from the 80’s would look in pain on the court given all the tough minutes played in the 80’s against Lakers, Philly, Pistons, Bucks, etc. McHale would have copped plenty that’s for sure!

    Q4 – Glad you skipped garbage time as there wouldn’t have been much interest in there. Although Rick Fox would go on to equal Bird and McHale with championships. Didn’t quite catch Chief though since he grabbed another one with the bloke in the last pic in 1997. Then who would have thought with that long pause on Steve Kerr, he’s the most successful ‘winner’ out there with 8 championships! 5 as a player then 3 as a coach….

  2. The fashion was terrible! If you were a ‘Medium’ in any other decade, you were an ‘XL’ in the 90’s.
    We get it NBC, Cleveland was excited! This game had SO many crowd pans, even one right in the middle of a replay so you never got to see what play they were trying to show (roll eyes, shake head).

    Ainge has remarked before that he thought Red held onto the core Celtics too long. I am glad he did in that, you think there was some loyalty/tradition there but this game definitely proves Danny’s point. Daugherty/Parrish longevity stat is crazy! like you said Troy, so hard to believe.
    Also fortunes for both clubs would be drastically different in ’92 if the 1986 draft lottery order had have been swapped around. Celtics (1) add Daugherty to their frontline maybe extending Bird’s career and Cavaliers (2) select Len Bias.

    Great review again Jess, keep it up.
    Also real interesting point on Reebok Troy, especially with Shaq rocking them a year later.

    Stay safe all.

  3. I love it how fashion has taken over the talk here 🙂

    I can imagine early 90’s Cleveland middle age white folk with their Levi 501’s and sneakers for shoes.

    I must say Goose, you’re right. Other than signing Shaq, Reebok stuffed up by not creating more of a marketing sensation with Reebok as a brand. Let’s face it, Jordan was Nike and Reebok did not have Adidas or Converse as true rivals around this time. They should have been hammering home the Shaq/Reebok relationship all through the 90’s. Lost

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