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THE NBA'S DAVID E. KELLEY VS. RUDY -- History of the NBA Finals Part 27

Updated on March 13, 2010

David E. Kelley got his start as a writer on L.A. Law in 1986 at the tender age of 30.

He then moved on to Doogie Howser M.D., his own show and everything.

Then came Picket Fences.

Then the Practice.

Then Ally McBeal.

Then the magnificent Boston Public.

Now this is very clearly the Celtics dynasty.

For like DEK, they set the standard for both basketball...and television writing.

The next time you drift off into that terrible feeling that you're surrounded by dick-farmers, remember that two of the coolest men in history...come from a town that called the Pistons "n-words" in Game 7 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals.

But there is more then just the shows.

For we saw the 11 championships with Bill Russell. Very impressive, Mr. Kelley.

But Mr. Auerbach will end up in a situation just like David E. Kelley ran into with two shows in particular...Ally McBeal and Boston Public.

Boston Legal is like the Larry Bird era for Auerbach. People will only talk about one Celtic for the rest of time...and that's William Shatner.

But Ally McBeal and Boston Public will come in the late 90s...after a steamroll of titles with Neal Patrick Harris and Womba and Carolyn Manheim.

This era I speak of is the Dave Cowens and John Havlicek era.

For the Celtics are suddenly very grounded.

One title in four years? WTF?

Couldn't even defend it? ?????!!!!!???

The reason is that Boston Public and Ally BcBeal, unlike the others...see characters fighting for big contracts with the network and skipping off upset.

This is where Auerbach proves his meddle.

The 70s.

David E. Kelley likewise will prove that he can rewrite a whole fucking season in two months notice...and make it actually good. Eat shit Steven "Cop Rock" Bochco.

Lots of people have written for television.

Lots of people have created shows and written the episodes for them.

Who the fuck does it AFTER he has the perfect plan already mapped out and ready to shoot?

It gets better.

On Ally McBeal, on will come Robert Downey Jr.

He and Ally have chemistry that is so fucking real that David E. Kelley is just plowing away on episodes and dialogue, just so fucking excited, Ally is straight up actually IN LOVE.

She's never been in love.

It's Larry this and Larry that.

Well Robert Downey Jr. will end up getting pulled over and discovered with a whole bunch of coke in his car while he's on probation.

That's the end of that.


As a result, Ally McBeal will last only 8 more episodes before it's done.

Hayden Pantiere was very young and being introduced in the end.

Jon Bon Jovi was the new Larry...and Ally didn't give a fuck.

So that's the Celtics by 1977...but it's clear that David E. Auerbach still had tricks up his sleeve, as evident with Boston Legal.

The story all season long in West was Golden State, who had won 59 games.

They were the Notre Dame football team.

All season long they beat down these kids who just wanted to make the playoffs.

It would have been an honor.

For everybody who said we couldn't do it.

That would be the Phoenix Suns.

They were Rudy.

And when it came to the playoffs...chasing a stupid dream does nothing but cause you and everybody around you heartache.

The playoffs are for good players. Talented players. It's not for you!

That's not to say you can't have a good living.

You're 42-40 for fucks sake!

We've been beating the shit out of you all season!

You screw up just once, I'll have you out of the playoffs so fast you won't know what hit you.

It was then that Phoenix approached me and said -- WAIT!!! In order to be out of the playoffs, I have to be IN the playoffs.

I'm in the playoffs?!

Don't disappoint me, Phoenix.



The NBA also got a new commissioner.

Make way for the first cool commissioner -- Larry O' Brien.

Larry O'Brien is another example of John Hughes.

He's a neat dude.

It was his office that the thugs at Watergate had broken into.

He was a Democrat, and approached the league as so.

The differences thus between him and the very Republican David Stern are mind-boggling.

Make no mistake about the fact that four years into Larry O'Brien's tenure and even the most race-sensitive historian would refer to this as the "blackest" era yet in the NBA.

You will see African-American basketball stars literally converted into their 1960s counterparts, as all of the world simply sits and does nothing but tally up the number of fistfights they get into, meanwhile there was nothing BUT punches thrown in the all white NBA.

You will see how Adidas...sinks beneath the Earth.

We also discuss video games, for they are responsible for linking even guys who don't like sports...into sports.

The better the game, the bigger the fanbase.

It happens for Mike Tyson.

It happens for Tommy Lasorda.

And it definitely happened...for John Madden.

Not that this is related, but Joe Montana Football was not in stores during Christmas time, 1990 when all the commercials were out for it.

The Toys R' Us in fact carried it less then two days before Leonard Marshall destroys him in late January, 1991.



So Alvin Adams is a rookie, Paul Westphal becomes good after being traded from Boston when he was younger, and Garfield Heard and Nick Van Arsdale are real good.

They go home to tell their family they're in the playoffs.

So? they sneer.You're just gonna get swept.

No way! We really think we have a good shot at getting to the Finals!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH let me back something very clear -- every May we turn on ABC or CBS to watch the NBA Finals and we see alot of players.

We just don't see you.

And so the Phoenix Suns would somehow someway get both mighty Seattle and mightier Golden let them dress in their place!

Golden State was even up 3-2. Phoenix would win in Game 7 on the road.



They're so little!

The 1976 NBA Finals

David E. Heinsohn and company are running the hell out of them in Boston Garden. 2-0 like nothing.

What do I do? Rudy asks John McLeod the coach.

Stay on! Stay on! McLeod calmly assures him.


They not only win the next two games at home, but end up in a thriller in Game 5 that I'm going to discuss in more detail below. But just know...this was the equivalent of Rudy getting the sack.

Rudy Ruttiger was literally as much of a college football the Phoenix Suns are a world champion.

It is close...but very very very far away...but boy do they make a good case...

It's a legendary game.

Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals in Boston.

Ask anybody over 40. They will tell you that there was only one game that they remember, and that was this one.

Boston goes up by 20 in the first quarter, 22 in the second.

The Suns have to use three timeouts in the first quarter.

But they came back.

And with about 20 seconds left, Westphal drives in and scores to give Phoenix their first tie since the game's opening seconds.

Three seconds left and Phoenix has a chance to do something but Dave Cowens knocks the ball away. And so we go into overtime tied at 95.

In overtime there's about 8 or 9 lead changes until it all goes flat.

Don Nelson inbounds to Havlicek in the waning seconds, he pumps fakes...shoots...nope.

Second overtime.

With about 12 seconds left, the Celtics are up by 3.

Phoenix has the ball, remember there's no three pointers yet.

Adams from the corner hits, they're down 1.

Celtics inbound...THERE'S A STEAL BY WESTPHAL!!!!

Westphal starts the play clock again.


It's down to 7 seconds.

They're just taking their time.

Be calm, Rudy. Be calm.

They set up for a good shot, and it's for Curtis Perry...

Perry from the corner...


5 seconds left!!!! Phoenix leads by one!!!!!

Holy fuck!!!!

So Boston has a final chance. The crowd is stunned.

Havlicek gets it, comes down court, goes to the top of the key, leans over like Bird did that day against Portland...SHOT IS GOOD!!!!!


The fans rush the floor on Johnny Most's orders.

BALL GAME IS OVER!!!!! he yells.

And so they go.

But there's still 1 second left.

Okay, so the Celtics are being called back out of the lockerroom and the fans ushered back into their seats, most of them are standing on the sidelines just clapping excited and patient.

But it's at that moment when a genius move happens.

See back then, the rules stated that the Suns would have had the ball under the basket.

The Suns were out of timeouts, and thus the Webber rule applied even call a timeout and it's over.

The Celtic fans and Johnny Most had ended up prolonging the game enough for Westphal to think of something.

Sure enough he calls timeout and gives Jo Jo White the technical shot.


Instead of taking the ball out from 94 feet away, they would get to take it out at halfcourt.

They knew the Celtics weren't dumb like Kentucky Wildcat team that failed to pressure Grant Hill so he threw the perfect 75 foot pass to Laettner in 1992.

The Celtics would have been right there to prevent every little thing.

And so they get to take it out...but down by 2 instead of 1.

They can't win, but they can tie.

The ball goes to Garfield Heard...

He turns like Laettner and throws up a shot from that same Laettner location, just with no time to fake...

He puts it up...



Fuckin' shit!

And so it goes into a third overtime.

And Glenn McDonald of the Celtics, the 11th man, is out there and keeping pace with a feisty ass Paul Westphal.

But it comes down to one of those dribbling situations again.

The Celtics would win their 13rd title on the strength of the greatest game in NBA Finals history.

For they would go to Rudy's house in Phoenix and kick his ass afterwards, while he was long exhausted and still trying to heal.

The 1976 NBA World Champions.



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