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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Clutch Bird outduels Wilkins, Celtics win series
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 22, 1988

It's the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals and on the Boston bench, the players are saying the duel between Larry Bird and Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins "is like the shootout at the old corral."

The modern-day gunslingers are firing one bull's-eye after another. Wilkins is phenomenal, scoring 47 points, including 16 in the final period. But it's not enough. The Celtics win 118-116 in Boston Garden, thanks to the heroics of the sharpshooting Bird.

Larry adds to his legend by scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, hitting nine of 10 shots from the field, and finishes with 34 points despite the tight defense of Wilkins. "I've seen so many of Larry's fourth quarters," says Boston assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers, "but I don't ever remember him having a fourth quarter like that. And you know ... it was absolutely necessary. Everything he did was significant."

When Wilkins walks to the foul line with a second to go and the Hawks trailing by three, he tells Celtics teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish, "Great game."

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