Chris Ford Sinks First NBA 3-Pointer, As Larry Bird Debuts at Boston Garden
It was a much anticipated home opener for the Boston Celtics. A new coach (Bill Fitch), rookies Larry Bird and Gerald Henderson. and five new players including veterans ML Carr (age 29) and Chris Ford (30) (Pete Maravich – 32 years old – would join mid-season).
It was also the debut of the new 3-point shot, a carryover from the defunct American Basketball Association. Both Bird and the new 3-pointer would usher in a new era of basketball.
A CELTIC REVIVAL
The Celtics had the second worst team in basketball in 1978-1979, but Bird as a rookie would lead them to the best record in basketball winning 32 more games than the prior season (and as much as the prior two seasons combined). The Celtics would ultimately fall short, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Finals (4-1), but would make it to the NBA Finals 5 of the next 7 seasons and win 3 titles – 2 against the Rockets.
The opening game against Houston featured 6 future Hall of Famers – Archibald, Bird and Cowens for the Celtics and Rick Barry, Moses Malone and Calvin Murphy for the Rockets. The Celtics won 114-106, with 7 Celtics in double figures including Maxwell (who led the Celtics with 22 points) and Bird who had 14.
THE DEBUT OF 3-BALL
During the game, Chris Ford and Rick Barry both hit three-pointers, but Ford’s is credited as being the first three-pointer in NBA history. Ford and Bird would finish among the three-pointers for the season both total and percentage and the Celtics would finish second in three point shots made to the San Diego Clippers (177).
But when you compare this to present day, you can see how the 3-pointer has taken off with Stephen Curry hitting 47 percent more three’s in 2014 (261) than the 1980 league best San Diego Clippers. In fact, the Memphis Grizzlies, the worst three point team in 2014, still had twice as many as the 1980 Clippers.
In 1985, the three-point shootout was added to the NBA All Star Game.
Bird would lead the league in three-pointers twice and is considered to be among the best three-point shooters of all time.
|Team 3-Pt Field Goals (Best)
San Diego – 177
Boston – 162
Houston – 104
Indiana – 88
New Jersey -85
|Team 3-Pt Field Goals (Worst)
|3-Pt Field Goals
|3-Pt Field Goal Pct
2014 Team 3-Pt
Field Goals (Best)
2014 Team 3-Pt
Field Goals (Worst)
EPIC THREE POINTERS
NBA 3-POINT LEADERS OVER TIME