July 23, 2024

Isiah Thomas and company finally figured out how to put a stop to the Boston Celtics reign over the Eastern Conference in the 1980s. The Silverdome crowd had stormed the court before time had clicked off the game clock.

As the teams reset for free throws, Larry Bird and company were escorted back to the locker room for security purposes with disappointment painted on their faces.

Statistically, Larry Bird had just finished his most productive season (29.9 ppg, 52 FG%, 92 FT%, 9 rpg, 6 apg) in the NBA.

However, something was noticeably wrong with Larry during the playoffs. Bird, though never a fast player, always displayed quickness while being light on his toes. During this post season Larry’s feet looked very heavy. He often looked distracted and out of the flow of the offense. On many occasions, Bird rushed his shot and, dare I say, even forced more then a few bad shots.

Uncharacteristically his points, rebounds and field goal percentage drastically dropped in the postseason.

Many heralded the Detroit defense for holding Larry to 10 ppg in the conference finals. What many didn’t know was that Larry Bird was hampered by painful bones spurs in both feet.

For the first time in 4 seasons, Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics would not advance to the NBA Finals.

As the 1989 season began the Boston Celtics kept their starting five intact but with little bench help added it looked as if Bird would be, once again, forced to play extended minutes. After just 6 games, Larry elected to have surgery on his feet that would sideline him for the rest of the season.

As a Celtics fan, it was humbling to watch my team only qualify as the 8th seed for the playoffs. It was even more humbling to see, the normally larger then life, Larry Bird in foot casts on the bench for those playoff games.

Larry Bird thinks he knows why Danny Granger starts seasons slowly: 'He  doesn't work hard enough' - Yahoo Sports

As the 89-90 season began excitement was mounting in the Boston area as Bird was returning to the active duty list with two new feet. Many questions surrounded Bird’s return. Would he still have his deadly jump shot? Could he still play the extended minutes? Would he be able to lead his Celtics to one more championship run?

In 1989 the Boston Celtics were an aging roster. Management had shipped the youngest member of the starting five, Danny Ainge, off to Sacramento in a feeble attempt to gather some youth and length on their bench.

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