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History week: odd couple Celtics trivia

Great duos

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

If you wish to try the harder All-Star edition of the quiz, try to answer the questions without looking at the multiple choice offerings.

Layup: Which is the only major college that recruited both underrated future superstars Larry Bird and Kevin McHale out of high school?

A) Minnesota B) Indiana

Dunk: What team did Kevin McHale shred for a club-record 56 points on March 3, 1985 —only to have Bird break his mark nine days later vs. Atlanta with 60? (*Bonus: how did McHale shoot from the field in his record game?)

A) Detroit B) Indiana

Free throw: Who was Kevin McHale's best friend on the 1980s Celtics?

A) Larry Bird B) Dennis Johnson C) Danny Ainge

Free throw: Which exasperated Celtic head coach once asked the carefree McHale why he couldn't be more like Larry in his single-minded devotion to basketball—to which Kevin replied laughingly, "Because I have a life?"

A) Bill Fitch B) KC Jones C) Chris Ford

Jump shot: Which Buck elbowed Bird in the face, fracturing his cheekbone and forcing Larry to become sixth man during an 18-game win streak in 1981-82—while McHale was inserted into the starting lineup in his place? (*Bonus: what team ended the win streak?)

A) Marques Johnson B) Bob Lanier C) Harvey Catchings

D) Sidney Moncrief

Jump shot: In which season did McHale and Bird both make first team All-NBA, the only forward tandem in league history to achieve this rare distinction?

A) 1984-85 B) 1986-87 C) 1988-89 D) 1989-90

Hook shot: Who was the series leading scorer in Boston's 1986 Finals six-game win over Houston and their Twin Towers?

A) Larry Bird B) Kevin McHale C) Hakeem Olajuwon

D) Ralph Sampson

Jump shot: Fill in the blank: Larry Bird repeatedly said that "Kevin could be ____ if he worked harder at his game?"

A) A Hall of Famer B) Better than me

C) 1st team all-league D) The best player in the league

3-pointer: In 1990 at Miami, their fifth and final All-Star Game together for the East, McHale outscored teammate Bird for the only time with how many points? (*Bonus: how many points did Bird score?)

A) 18 B) 21 C) 24 D) 13 E) 11

3-pointer: How many times did McHale and Bird each make the first or second all-league defensive team?

A) McHale 4, Bird 3 B) McHale 5, Bird 3 C) McHale 6, Bird 3

D) McHale 7, Bird 3 E) McHale 3, Bird 3

25 points is the highest possible score; extra points only apply if the correct answer is given first.

Answers

Layup-B) Indiana was the only major college that recruited both underrated future superstars Larry Bird and Kevin McHale out of high school. Bird went to IU for 24 days before dropping out. Bobby Knight eventually decided against offering a scholarship to McHale, who he deemed too skinny for the rugged Big 10.

Dunk-A) Detroit was victimized by Kevin McHale for a club-record 56 points on March 3, 1985 as he shot a remarkable 22-28* from the field. But Bird, who warned the record would soon fall since Kevin should have scored more, broke his mark nine days later vs. Atlanta with 60 on 22-36 accuracy.

Free throw-C) Danny Ainge was Kevin McHale's best friend on the 1980s Celtics. Bird was a notorious loner. All three went on to become NBA head coaches and general managers/team presidents.

Free throw-A) Bill Fitch, a former drill sergeant, was always trying to get the gregarious McHale to be more like Larry in his serious approach to the game.

Jump shot-C) Harvey Catchings elbowed Bird in the face, fracturing Bird's cheekbone and forcing Larry to miss five games and later become sixth man during an 18-game win streak in 1981-82.

When the Celtics won all five games in his absence while McHale played well in the starting lineup, superstitious coach Fitch broke the facemasked superstar back in carefully as sixth man, making Larry seethe.

Arch-rival Philadelphia* ended the long win streak exactly four weeks after Bird was injured, 116-98 in Boston Garden on March 28, 1982.

Jump shot-B) In 1986-87, McHale and Bird both made first team All-NBA, the only forward tandem in league history to achieve this rare distinction.

Hook shot-B) Kevin McHale was the leading scorer in the 1986 Finals six-game series win over Houston, netting 25.8 ppg to 24.7 by Olajuwon and 24.0 for Bird. Sampson tallied just 14.8 ppg in the series and was badly outplayed by McHale, who shot 57.3 percent from the field and 80.4 percent from the foul line to go with 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game in the series.

Bird added 9.7 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game in a near Finals triple-double tour de force performance to nose out Kevin for series MVP honors.

Jump shot-D) In order to motivate his talented teammate, Larry Bird repeatedly said that "Kevin could be the best player in the league if he worked harder at his game."

3-pointer-D) 13. In 1990 at Miami, their fifth and final All-Star Game together, McHale outscored teammate Bird 13-8* as the East won easily, 130-113. The duo also played together in the mid-season classic in 1984/86/87/88. In 1989 and 1991 both were selected but Bird was injured each time.

The 1990 win made the duo and East 4-1 in their All-Star Games together. In 1988 Bird, McHale and Ainge all played for the East in the All-Star Game for the only time, a 138-133 East win at Chicago. Ainge outscored the celebrated duo's combined total of eight points with 12 markers in his only All-Star appearance.

3-pointer-C) Kevin and Larry each made second team all-defense thrice, but the versatile shot-blocking Kevin also made the first team three times, whereas Bird made no first team appearances for his underrated defense.

To contact the quizmaster directly, contact Cort Reynolds at cdrada2433@yahoo.com.