Larry Bird famously declared, “I will leave behind a record that would take years to break.”

How and why, on March 12, 1985, Larry Legend scorched the nets (as well as the Hawks) for 60 points.

Larry Bird wrote the best scoring game in the Boston Celtics’ storied 70-year history on March 12, 1985.


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That night, thirty-one years ago today, Bird hit a game-high sixty points against the Atlanta Hawks in New Orleans, setting a Celtic record.


With a spectacular outside shooting performance that included 11 points in the last 1:56 of play, Bird scored 37 of his points in the second half.


In addition, Larry Legend tortured some of his favorite targets, the Hawks and Dominique Wilkins, by scoring the final 16 Celtic points of a 126-115 victory.


The coach of Atlanta, Mike Fratello, recollected that going into the game at New Orleans, the occasional Hawk home away from home back then, he thought Atlanta had a chance to upset the defending champions. Fratello would later become the victim of another, more famous Bird onslaught three years later in the fourth quarter of game seven in the 1988 conference semifinals.


“I heard before the game that Larry had had a very late night the previous day before the game,” stated Fratello. Beer was Bird’s vice, and no doubt he had relished the vibe of Bourbon Street during one of his few trips to the Big Easy.


However, he would discover the hard way that evening that Bird’s uncommon exhibition of sharpshooting would not be put off by his late-night partying.


Just nine days prior, Kevin McHale had destroyed Detroit for 56 points (plus 16 rebounds) in a 138-129 shootout victory at the Garden thanks to amazing 22-28 field goal accuracy and 12-13 foul shooting.


Kevin was so accurate that day that a few members of the adoring home crowd booed him humorously when he missed the one and only time late in the game.


In the victory, Bird finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists. If his teammates had completed some other outstanding feeds, he could have had even more assists. Bird missed a clear opportunity to score late in the game after an offensive rebound, but he skillfully fed McHale an underhanded ball for a layin. Kevin’s final three baskets were the result of excellent Bird passes.

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