Larry Bird became the 15th NBA player to pass the 20,000-point milestone and the Boston Celtics stretched their winning streak to eight games with a 123-95 victory over the Washington Bullets on Friday night.
Bird's historic basket came with 3:40 gone in the third quarter. Bird dribbled from right to left and, guarded closely by 6-foot-3 Haywoode Workman, sank a fallaway jumper from the foul line.That gave him 13 points for the game and 20,001 for his career. He finished the game with a 21 points for a total of 20,009 in his 12-year career.
Bird joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Havlicek, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West as the only players with both 20,000 points and 5,000 assists. George Gervin is 14th with 20,708 points.
Leading 96-84, Boston broke the game open with a 13-0 run, started by Bird's third 3-pointer of the game with 7:22 left. Kevin Gamble had 6 points in the surge that gave Boston a 109-84 lead with 4:48 remaining.
Robert Parish had 15 rebounds and Bird 14 as Boston held a 60-42 advantage off the boards.
Kevin McHale and Dee Brown had 18 points each for Boston, which had eight scorers in double figures. Washington was led by Bernard King with 22 points and Harvey Grant with 21.
Boston improved its record to 12-2, its best start since 1985-86 when it won its last NBA title. The Celtics are 7-1 at home and Washington is 1-7 on the road.
Boston increased a 52-43 halftime lead to 67-54 with 7:00 left in the third quarter. Grant then led a 17-9 run with 10 points as Washington cut the lead to 76-71 with 2:12 to go in the period.
But, sparked by Brown's 6 points, Boston went on a 10-2 spurt and took an 86-75 lead into the final quarter.
Both teams shot poorly in the first half. Boston, which entered the game with a league best 52.2 shooting percentage, sank 39.1 percent of its shots. Washington hit 38.3 percent.
Bird made only three of 10 shots and finished the first half with 8 points. A 3-point basket with 2:14 gone in the third quarter put him within one of the 20,000-point mark.