Oct-12-1979: A New Era Begins for NBA and Celtics

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)

1. Atlanta 13
2. Los Angeles 20
3. Kansas City 25
4. Portland 26
5. Golden State 27
3-Pt Field Goals

1. Brian Taylor-SDC 90
2. Rick Barry*-HOU 73
3. Chris Ford-BOS 70
4. Joe Hassett-IND 69
5. Larry Bird*-BOS 58
3-Pt Field Goal Pct

1. Fred Brown-SEA .443
2. Chris Ford-BOS .427
3. Larry Bird*-BOS .406
4. John Roche-DEN .380
5. Brian Taylor-SDC .377

2014 Team 3-Pt

Field Goals (Best)

1. Houston 779
2. Golden State 774
3. Los Angeles Lakers 774
4. Portland 770
5. Atlnta 768

2014 Team 3-Pt

Field Goals (Worst)

1. Memphis 405
2. New Orleans 486
3. Sacramento 491
4. Detroit 507
5. Chicago 508

3-Pt Field Goals (2014)

1. Stephen Curry-GSW 261
2. Klay Thompson-GSW 223
3. Damian Lillard-POR 218
4. Gerald Green-PHO 204
5. Wesley Matthews-POR 201

3-Pt Field Goal Pct (2014)

1. Kyle Korver-ATL .472
2. Mike Miller-MEM .459
3. Anthony Morrow-NOP .451
4. Jose Calderon-DAL .449
5. Marco Belinelli-SAS .430

EPIC THREE POINTERS



NBA 3-POINT LEADERS OVER TIME

Year-by-Year 3P Active 3P Career 3P Single Season 3P
1979-80 Brian Taylor 90 Brian Taylor 90 Brian Taylor 90 Brian Taylor 90
1980-81 Mike Bratz 57 Brian Taylor 134 Brian Taylor 134 Brian Taylor 90
1981-82 Don Buse 73 Joe Hassett 193 Joe Hassett 193 Brian Taylor 90
1982-83 Mike Dunleavy 67 Joe Hassett 194 Joe Hassett 194 Brian Taylor 90
1983-84 Darrell Griffith 91 Darrell Griffith 154 Joe Hassett 194 Darrell Griffith 91
1984-85 Darrell Griffith 92 Darrell Griffith 246 Darrell Griffith 246 Darrell Griffith 92
1985-86 Larry Bird* 82 Larry Bird* 267 Larry Bird* 267 Darrell Griffith 92
1986-87 Larry Bird* 90 Larry Bird* 357 Larry Bird* 357 Darrell Griffith 92
1987-88 Danny Ainge 148 Larry Bird* 455 Larry Bird* 455 Danny Ainge 148
1988-89 Michael Adams 166 Dale Ellis 472 Dale Ellis 472 Michael Adams 166
1989-90 Michael Adams 158 Dale Ellis 568 Dale Ellis 568 Michael Adams 166
1990-91 Vernon Maxwell 172 Michael Adams 658 Michael Adams 658 Vernon Maxwell 172
1991-92 Vernon Maxwell 162 Michael Adams 783 Michael Adams 783 Vernon Maxwell 172
1992-93 Reggie Miller*
Dan Majerle
167 Dale Ellis 882 Dale Ellis 882 Vernon Maxwell 172
1993-94 Dan Majerle 192
1994-95 John Starks 217 Dale Ellis 1119 Dale Ellis 1119 John Starks 217
1995-96 Dennis Scott 267 Dale Ellis 1269 Dale Ellis 1269 Dennis Scott 267
1996-97 Reggie Miller* 229 Dale Ellis 1461 Dale Ellis 1461 Dennis Scott 267
1997-98 Wesley Person 192 Reggie Miller* 1596 Reggie Miller* 1596 Dennis Scott 267
1998-99 Dee Brown 135 Reggie Miller* 1702 Reggie Miller* 1702 Dennis Scott 267
1999-00 Gary Payton* 177 Reggie Miller* 1867 Reggie Miller* 1867 Dennis Scott 267
2000-01 Antoine Walker 221 Reggie Miller* 2037 Reggie Miller* 2037 Dennis Scott 267
2001-02 Ray Allen 229 Reggie Miller* 2217 Reggie Miller* 2217 Dennis Scott 267
2002-03 Ray Allen 201 Reggie Miller* 2330 Reggie Miller* 2330 Dennis Scott 267
2003-04 Peja Stojakovic 240 Reggie Miller* 2464 Reggie Miller* 2464 Dennis Scott 267
2004-05 Quentin Richardson
Kyle Korver
226 Reggie Miller* 2560 Reggie Miller* 2560 Dennis Scott 267
2005-06 Ray Allen 269 Ray Allen 1755 Reggie Miller* 2560 Ray Allen 269
2006-07 Gilbert Arenas
Raja Bell
205 Ray Allen 1920 Reggie Miller* 2560 Ray Allen 269
2007-08 Jason Richardson 243 Ray Allen 2100 Reggie Miller* 2560 Ray Allen 269
2008-09 Rashard Lewis 220 Ray Allen 2299 Reggie Miller* 2560 Ray Allen 269
2009-10 Aaron Brooks 209 Ray Allen 2444 Reggie Miller* 2560 Ray Allen 269
2010-11 Dorell Wright 194 Ray Allen 2612 Ray Allen 2612 Ray Allen 269
2011-12 Ryan Anderson 166 Ray Allen 2718 Ray Allen 2718 Ray Allen 269
2012-13 Stephen Curry 272 Ray Allen 2857 Ray Allen 2857 Stephen Curry 272
2013-14 Stephen Curry 261
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