March 3, 1985. The day Boston Celtics forward Kevin McHale had the game of his life versus the Detroit Pistons.
He scored 56 points against the Pistons to set a new franchise record, previously held by Larry Bird, for points in a single regular season game. Not only did he put up a massive number in the points category, he also finished the game with 16 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in Boston's 138-129 victory over Detroit.
"It was a game where I had been playing well for a while and it really had a flow where the basket looked big," McHale said. "You step on the floor and go through warmups, and as soon as the game starts, the basket just looks like it increases in size. And believe me, there's enough games where the basket decreases in size. So, when it does increase in size and you're playing well you really enjoy it.
"The points just kept piling up and I kept getting the ball in good situations and scoring it. Before you knew it, I looked up on the board back at the old Garden and they had the runner in the back that said 'new Celtics' team record' and I was like 'Wow. I didn't even know I was capable.' I thought of Havlicek and the great Celtics and said 'Wow, that's really something.' It didn't last long, though."
McHale's record stood for the C's next three games against the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Dallas Mavericks before Bird shattered it with an incredible 60-point night against the Atlanta Hawks on March 12. In Boston's 126-115 win over Atlanta, Bird also had seven rebounds and three assists while shooting 61.1 percent from the field.
Bird even warned McHale that his record would be broken -- little did he know it would be by himself.
"Well, it was at home against Detroit and Kevin [McHale] was having a great game where he was scoring a lot of points," Bird said. "And he had about three or four minutes to go in the game, and we were up by a pretty good margin and he asked the coach to take him out.
"I happened to be standing there and I told him he better go for 60 because 56 is not enough, that will be broken."
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