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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Celtics back on top after Kareem-ing Bucks
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
May 12, 1974
For the first six games of the NBA Finals, the Celtics played Milwaukee center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar straight up. Today in Game 7, Boston coach Tom Heinsohn changes his strategy -- and it works to perfection.
"Dave Cowens got in front of him and Paul Silas and Don Nelson helped out behind," says John Havlicek, the Finals MVP. "It disrupted them and they couldn't quite make the adjustment."
With the Celtics ganging up on the 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar, they rolled to a 102-87 victory for their first title since Bill Russell retired five years ago. After scoring 14 points in the first period, Abdul-Jabbar is held to only three shots -- and no points -- in the next 18 minutes as the Celtics race out to a 65-50 lead midway through the third quarter.
Abdul-Jabbar is held to a playoff low of 21 shots and 26 points. Besides his strong defensive game, the 6-foot-9 Cowens also leads the Celtics offense with 28 points as Boston wins for the third time in four games in Milwaukee.
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