Today, our top overall seed, Larry Bird, steps into the fray against Dave Cowens. Here's the tale of the tape:
(1) Larry Bird:
1-on-1 Advantage: Shooting, scoring, intelligence. Bird is a do-it-all player in the 1-on-1 game. His ability to hit from anywhere on the court makes him dangerous against anyone. He makes up for any deficiencies in speed by forcing you to play up on him and then setting you up for any move he wants to make. He's a pretty good rebounder too, and his basketball IQ will let him know within a fraction of a second whether his shot is going to be off or not, giving him an edge to get to the rebounds.
1-on-1 Disadvantage: Speed. Bird isn't a fast guy. He can be exploited with a quick first step, especially if he has to respect a jumper. If a player can consistently hit from mid-range and force Bird to play up on him, then he might have a chance to get by for a layup. Just don't miss.
(16) Dave Cowens
1-on-1 Advantage: Scoring, rebounding, defense, hustle. Cowens' motor was always revving at full speed. In the 77-78 season, he led the C's in scoring, rebounding, assists blocks and steals. He's also a 6'9" center, so he knows how to box out and rebound. Even if he doesn't get a rebound on the first try, chances are he'll keep working until he gets it.
1-on-1 Disadvantage: Speed, ball handling
Cowens won't win a ton of foot-races. He's not slow, but he's not fast enough to keep up with the fastest guys in the league. A guard with a quick first step could get a shot off against him. As a big man, Cowens will have trouble dribbling past a guard. He'll have to rely on backing down to get a good shot off.