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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 72

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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k) UjUU lKsJ IjvS? Uu li By DICK WEISS BOSTON Will Fitz Dixon sell the 76ers? Will Billy Cunningham coach the team next season? Does Darryl Daw-kins have a future Philadelphia? Julius Erving ever wear an NBA Monday. May 4, 1981 Mike Rathet. Sports Editor -i championship ring? Will Lou Schein-feld ever sell another season ticket? In the wake of the 76ers' latest playoff disappointment, the status of pro basketball in Philadelphia is just an endless series of questions without answers. The Boston Celtics defeated the Sixers, 91-90, yesterday before a wild-eyed'' sellout crowd of 15,320 at Boston Garden to win the decisive seventh game in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics will open their champion.

5 JBP series against Houston here tomorrow night. The Sixers can only talk about a. brass ring they let slip from their grasp. JUST LAST Sunday, they had Boston mortally wounded, leading in this best-of-seven -series, 3-1. Today, the Sixers are wondering how they could have let the Celtics come back to life, not once, but three separate times in the past week.

When General Manager Pat Williams and Coach Billy Cunningham drew up the blueprints for this team, they assembled a group of quality players they felt could handle crisis situations, character people who were mature and playoff-tested. After the Sixers turned to jelly once again during the final five minutes of their season, there were serious questions about how well pressure during this series. The Sixers, who led the Celtics by six points with just 151 to play in Game and again by as many as 17 in the first half of Game 6, went into the last 5:23 of this grand finale leading, 89-82, before the walls caved in for good. Julius Erving's reverse layup was the last field goal the Sixers scored. They came up-empty in their next 10 possessions, missing six shots and and turning the ball over four times.

Worse yet, the Sixers stopped looking to push the ball upflobr, looked extremely tentative after finally getting it into the frontcourt, and, with the possible exception of Dawkins, seemed almost afraid to shoot. BOSTON WAS only too happy to take advantage of the Sixers' fatigue, noticeable lack of yrc and inability to convert from their set offense, outscoring the Sixers, 9-1, the rest of the way. "That's what I call Hall of Fame defense," Boston guard Chris Ford said. "Strong character and tremendous defense down the stretch won it for us today, and I can honestly say I'm not surprised by it at all." Boston is 25-0 this year in games in which their opponents have scored -fewer than 100 points. Maurice Cheeks had a chance to tie the score at 91 and possibly force an overtime with 29 seconds to go but the Sixers' lead guard, after being fouled on a fast break by Gerald Henderson, made only one of two free throws, bouncing his first shot off the rim before sinking the second.

lt was typical of the frustration that sur-ilfc Continued on Page 70 Unifax Julius Erving takes a shoulder in the lace as he tries to stop Celtics' Larry Bird yesterday int 'Try Not to Choke' Offici al Gompla Better Team' Lost Didinger on Page. 64 Hochman on Page 65 Cushman on Paae 71 r-.

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