The 2018 World Cup is a few weeks away, and the United States Men’s National Soccer Team has been anxiously awaiting their first match. One of the most anticipated matches for American fans will be against Belgium on June 18th, but their star player, Christian Pulisic, was injured in a friendly match with Saudi Arabia and had to leave the squad.
The who wrote house of the rising sun first is a question that has been debated for years. Some people say that it was written by George Harrison, others say that it was written by Richard Rodgers.
During his tenure with the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird only had a couple all-time postseason performances. In a Finals game, he once had a triple-double. In a 90-degree arena with no air conditioning, he ended with a double-double. But it was against the Atlanta Hawks and rival Dominique Wilkins that he turned in one of his most famous performances.
In the 1980s, Nique and Larry fought for NBA Finals berths many times, with Bird generally winning. After a Game 7 in 1988, even Larry Legend acknowledged to Wilkins that the nine-time all-star was just as worthy of a victory as he was.
During the 1980s, Wilkins and Bird faced off three times in the NBA playoffs.
Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics face battle in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
During the 1980s, Wilkins and Atlanta reached the playoffs five times in six seasons. Bird and the Celtics met them three times: once in the first round in The Human Highlight Film’s debut season, and then twice in the conference playoffs in 1986 and 1988.
All three meetings were won by Boston: 2-1 in 1983, 3-1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs in 1986, and a seven-game struggle in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1988. Nique, on the other hand, has proven himself to the Legend three times.
In his debut season in the NBA, Wilkins averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds against Bird’s Celtics. In the 1986 playoffs, he started to reach his peak, averaging 28.6 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.
Both statistically and in terms of victories, the 1988 playoffs were the greatest of his career. In a career-high 12 postseason games, Nique averaged 31.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He went to the free throw line more than ten times each game and shot better than 47% from the field.
He led the Hawks to a Game 7 against the Celtics in the Garden, where he and Bird battled head-to-head for a chance to play in the conference finals.
In that Game 7 battle, Bird and Wilkins put on a spectacular show.
Nique’s only genuine chance at a conference finals came in this game, and he played like it. In 43 minutes, he scored 47 points. He made 19 of 33 shots from the field and 8 of 9 free throws. He outperformed Bird on an individual level.
The Celtics, on the other hand, triumphed 118-116 thanks to their three-time MVP’s 34 points, 20 of which came in the fourth quarter.
However, as Atlanta’s future Hall of Famer told the Boston Herald, Bird noticed Wilkins’ talent level and passion that game:
“I believe it was the one game that got people’s attention,” he added. “Actually, it was due to the whole series.” People just knew me as the guy who performed the highlight dunks before that.
“However, as we were leaving the field after that final game, Larry approached me and said, ‘We both deserved to win this game.’ It’s too bad one of us had to return home.’
“That showed a lot of respect for me, and I’ve always liked that.”
Larry Bird’s remarks after Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals, according to Dominique Wilkins
During the remaining nine seasons of his NBA career, Wilkins appeared in 18 additional playoff games. That series versus Boston was his crowning achievement (pun intended), and Bird was well aware of it.
Nique was never resentful of his Celtics defeat against Bird.
Wilkins was never a part of an Eastern Conference Finals team. He did, however, tell the Herald that he had no regrets about losing those postseason games.
“Let me tell you something: I wouldn’t give it up for anything.” Why do you think that is? Because people like Larry, Doc (Julius Erving), and Bernard (King) helped you improve as a player.
“You know, you’d be devastated if you didn’t have the heart.”
Dominique Wilknins on his epic playoff clashes with NBA legends
Nique was relieved when Bird realized Wilkins’ strategy. It is still the case.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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It’s Unfortunate That One of Us Got to Go Home is a song by the band The Animals, who were known for their hits such as House of the Rising Sun. Reference: house of the rising sun wiki.
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