Chuck Person insisted there was no way the Indiana Pacers were going to let "all that tradition and leprechaun stuff" affect them in their NBA playoff with the 16-time champion Boston Celtics.
"Now they can bring the parquet to Indianapolis if they want," Person said Sunday after he scored 39 points, including 7-for-9 3-point shooting as the Pacers whipped the Celtics 130-118 to square the best-of-5 first round series at one game apiece.The seven 3-pointers broke the NBA playoff record of six shared by Vernon Maxwell and Michael Cooper.
"Now we'll try to close the Garden for the year," Person said before the Pacers headed home for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday. A fifth game would be played in Boston on Sunday.
Person, whose first name and middle name of Connors gave him the nickname of The Rifleman, cracked Boston's defense with his long-range shooting as Indiana won a playoff game for just the second time since joining the NBA in 1976. As a team, the Pacers made 50 of 87 shots from the floor, compared with Boston's 42 of 95.
The win was the Pacers' sixth in 38 Boston visits.
"We have some feisty, fiercely competitive guys on this team and we expected to win both games," said Person, who was not impressed by the Celtics' 127-120 victory on Friday.
Although he often antagonizes Larry Bird and the Celtics with a constant verbal assault on the court, Person let his shooting do most of his talking. He even silenced hometown boos by hitting 16 of 24 shots.
"Today was my day in the sun," Person said. "I guess I got the last laugh in the Garden. I was the best player in the world for one day in my eyes. It's been a while since I've shot the ball this well."
"Chuck had a great game," said Bird, who had 18 points, six rebounds and 10 assists while playing 40 minutes with a bad back. "Time after time we started to make a run and Chuck would hit a big shot, and that really demoralized us."
"I don't care who you would have put on Chuck, Dennis Rodman or anybody, nobody was going to stop him," said Reggie Miller, who had 15 points while going 2-for-3 from 3-point territory. "Chuck led us to victory."
"Chuck was phenomenal, the guy deserves all the credit," Indiana coach Bob Hill said.
"What can you say about Chuck Person - tremendous, sensational, enormous," said the Pacers' Micheal Williams, who had 24 points.
"They shot the lights out of us," Boston coach Chris Ford said. "Person was uncoverable. We were able to score, we just weren't able to defend."
"Our goal was to win one game here," Hill said. "Now we'll be happy for about an hour. We know this series is far from over."
"We've been around a long time," Bird said. "We've been down before."
"We have to make some adjustments," Boston's Kevin McHale said, "but if they continue hitting those bombs they'll be tough to beat.
"It's hard to make that percentage of 3-pointers even in practice. Person had his confidence today, but confidence disappears quickly when you miss a couple."